State College Spikes

Yankees blast Spikes in final game before All-Star break

It was a night to forget for starting pitcher Carson Cross and reliever Gerwuins Velazco.

Staten Island lit up Medlar Field at Lubrano Park as the Yankees powered past State College 11-3 on Sunday night.

Cross (4-4) allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks in five innings of work.

Velazco entered in relief and allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings.

A sacrifice fly and balk in the second inning scored two after a critical throwing error by center fielder Vince Jackson, and Kane Sweeney slapped an RBI single in the third after a catcher’s interference kept the inning alive.

All three of those runs were unearned.

However, the next three were not.

A two-run home run crushed by Angel Aguilar in the fourth frame and a run-scoring ground-rule double by Sweeney in the fifth earned Staten Island a 6-0 advantage.

Aguilar put an exclamation point on his night with a three-run double in the seventh. He had five RBIs on the evening.

Meanwhile, State College mustered two runs in the sixth and one in the ninth, but nothing more.

Yankees pitchers J.R. Graham (two innings), Jonathan Padilla (four innings) and Brian Trieglaff (ninth inning) combined to limit the Spikes to seven hits.

Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez did not make himself or players available to comment after the game.

Spikes still 1st

Despite losing the series before a brief All-Star break, State College (37-19) is still in a favorable spot in the standings.

The Spikes are first in the Pinckney Division standings, and stood 6 1/2 games clear of the Williamsport Crosscutters before Sunday’s action.

With 56 games down and 20 to go after the break, the Spikes have won 13 of 17 three-game series while tallying five sweeps.

Red Raiders recognized

It was Bellefonte Community Night on Sunday, and for a few moments, the Spikes shared the field with a few other ballplayers.

Early in the game, the Bellefonte baseball team — 2016 PIAA Class AAA champions — were recognized along the first-base line.

It was a return to the celebration site for Bellefonte. The Red Raiders, who defeated Susquehanna Township 2-0 on June 17 for their first-ever state title, won the whole thing at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

After being announced, the crowd gave Bellefonte a clamorous applause.

And of course, when the Spikes MC asked first-year head coach Dan Fravel if the Red Raiders would snag another state championship in the near future, his answer was obvious.

“Absolutely,” Fravel said with a smile.

Up next

Before resuming the season with a home game at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday against Williamsport, several Spikes will take part in the North vs. South New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Tuesday.

On the South team, reliever Eric Carter, catcher Jeremy Martinez, shortstop Tommy Edman, third baseman Danny Hudzina and first baseman Elier Rodriguez will represent the Spikes at Hudson Valley’s Dutchess Stadium.

Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez thought others could have made the team — namely Steven Farinaro (6-1, 1.65 WHIP) and Brady Bowen (seven saves) — but he’s pleased with State College being repped so heavily.

“We could’ve put nine, 10, 11 guys on the team because they’ve all performed,” the manager said Friday. “I’m happy with that group of five, though. Well-deserving.”

John McGonigal: 814-231-4630, @jmcgonigal9