Who: Staten Island Yankees versus West Virginia Black Bears
What: Game 2 (of 3) of the New York-Penn League Championship Series
Where: The Ballpark at St George, Staten Island New York
When: September 15th 2015
Sometimes it all comes down to this but it’s not over until Scooter the Holy Cow does the last dance in the middle of the ninth and the last fly ball is caught. But you know it has to end.
The Staten Island Yankees had never before lost in a championship series. But whilst this year’s crop of young talent was good enough to make the post-season and venture through to the final round of the playoffs for the first time since 2011, there was more than a suggestion, as I mentioned in my previous article (https://twilightdawning.com/2015/09/10/a-staten-island-state-of-mind/) that they weren’t going to be strong enough to go all the way. In fact, when they lost the first game of the series, the previous night, in Morgantown, it began to seem like it might be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ affiliate’s year.
That game had stretched into 11 innings and made for a long and torturous night for the Baby Yanks and even when the Staten Island team nosed ahead in the 5th tonight, there was a sense that it wasn’t going to last and there didn’t seem to be a lot of conviction and confidence exuding from the Yankees dugout. In fact, the Black Bears and their fans just seemed to want it more.
On the field, Kyle Holder was a sharp defensive presence again and catcher Eduardo Oleo, and home-run hitting Jhalan Jackson were hot offensively. On the mound, the team’s most complete prospect, James Kaprelian delivered six and a third innings of scoreless ball to give further assurance if any was needed that he will be moving up a level or two in the Yankees farm system next year. But there was too little else and a weak team presence overall was not enough to prevent Julio Eusebio silencing the Yankees bats in the 8th and 9th whilst Josh Roeder gave too much away.
So another season on Staten Island comes to an end. In 17 years of competition, they have won six championships – 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 – but until now they hadn’t had a season when they made those championships and lost. But given that the previous three years they have finished with a sub-.500 record then this is some encouragement – if not much of a guide for next year in a sport where at this level, by its very nature, there is very little continuity.