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Junior Soto went 3-for-4, drove in two runs (4,5) and hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third (1). (Robert M. Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects)

SI Yanks Defeat Mahoning Valley Behind Soto’s Two-Homer Night

Juan De Paula (0-0, 2.29) got the start for the Staten Island Yankees. De Paula would go five innings, giving up two hits, no runs, walking two, and striking out six. De Paula would pick up the no-decision.

“I thought a much improved today opposite arm-side fastball,” said Staten Island Manager Lino Diaz, of improvement for De Paula in this game. “He was really getting back there. He actually got some good pitches in there that actually made everything else so much more efficient; so much more effective.”

This year’s 2018 Fifth Round draft pick Brandon Lockridge joined the Staten Island Yankees, after ten games in Pulaksi. Lockridge picked up his first hit with the team, in his first at bat. Lockridge also showed great range in the outfield, especially on a fly out to deep left center field in the top of the third inning.

Josh Breaux would get the SI Yanks on the board in the bottom of the third, with an opposite field double, just over the right fielder’s head. This hit would bring in Jesus Bastidas from third.

Unfortunately, Breaux would be taken out of the game after his RBI double. According to Manager Lino Diaz, the move was precautionary:

“It was just precautionary. He kind of tweaked a little bit his hamstring, and talking to [Jon Becker] our trainer, we felt it was more important to check his hamstring and just keep him off for right now, then continue in the game and it get worse. It wasn’t a full pulled hamstring, it was just a tweak. It will be day-by-day until we hear further.”

Drew Finley (1-2, 10.61) came into the game in the sixth inning, replacing Juan De Paula. Finley would proceed to give up a first pitch homer to left, tying the game. He would settle down, giving up the one hit, one run (earned), and striking out four. Finley would earn the first professional win of his career.

“I was very happy for Drew today. The thing that really caught my eye was the first hitter comes in and hits an oppo-home run. He could have gone south right away, the way things have been going for Finley,” said Diaz. “He was able to stay in the game, and gave us two innings of really good work after that He’s got some good stuff there. Once he throws that fastball for a strike, and mixes up that curveball, it is so much more effective”

The seventh and eighth innings would be the Junior Soto show. Soto would hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, which gave the SI Yanks a 2-1 lead. He would add a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, stretching the lead to 5-1.

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Daniel Alvarez (1-0, 2.25) would take over for Drew Finley. Alvarez would strikeout the side in the eighth and add two more in the ninth inning. Alvarez looked dominant in his two innings, picking his first save of the season. Manager Lino Diaz added:

“I believe that when he comes in there, he is ready to go. The times when he has come into tough situations, he has been effective.”

Star of the Game:

Junior Soto is the only Staten Island Yankee with multiple hits. Soto would end the game batting 3-4, with two homers and four RBIs.

Highlight Plays:

Junior Soto’s homer in the eighth inning cleared the trees in left field, and was a no-doubter. Eduardo Torrealba got the first out of the game with a Derek Jeter-esque jump throw to first.

Game Note:

This past offseason, Junior Soto was selected in the Minor League Phase of the Rule V draft. Soto was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians. Soto did reach the Single A level last season in the Indians organization, but never played for Mahoning Valley.

First Base Coach:

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Andy Diaz, Miguel Flames, and Danienger Perez split the first base duties for this game.

Odd Note:

Rehabbing Catcher Keith Skinner played with Pitcher Frank German at the University of North Florida. When asked if German would pitch to Skinner, Manager Lino Diaz said that Skinner is projected to catch seven innings during the Thursday, July 12 game, and Frank German will pitch on Friday, July 13. It is unlikely the two will reconnect as battery mates during Skinner’s rehab stint.

Roster Change:

With the addition of Josh Breaux to the team, fellow 2018 Draft pick Jackson Thoreson (Catcher) was assigned to Pulaski. Keith Skinner rejoins the Staten Island Yankees on a rehab assignment. Skinner last played in Tampa, and appeared in 21 games for Staten Island last season.

Next Game:

The Staten Island Yankees (12-13) will host Mahoning Valley for game two of the series. Nolan Martinez (2-0,2.60) is scheduled to get the start. Rodney Hutchison (0-0, 3.38) is scheduled to piggyback Martinez.

Written By

Sport Management Grad - UMass-Amherst

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