Jamestown jamming into NYP Finals

Villanueva fans 10 to complete sweep of Staten Island

(TJ Sengel)

By Steve Conley / Special to MLB.com | September 9, 2008 6:56 PM

Jamestown qualified for the New York-Penn League playoffs on the strength of the top offense in the league. But it's pitching that has the Jammers two wins away from being crowned champions.

Elih Villanueva struck out a career-high 10 over six strong innings as Jamestown beat the Staten Island Yankees, 4-1, to complete a two-game sweep and advance to their first-ever New York-Penn League Finals.

Villanueva (1-0) allowed only an unearned run on four hits on a walk and a first-inning single. He struck out the side in the second and fourth and retired the final eight batters he faced in matching the longest outing of his career.

Matt Vieira tossed two hitless frames and Brandon Todd earned the save with a perfect ninth to complete the four-hitter and give the Jammers their seventh straight win overall.

"I was a little extra pumped," said Villanueva, who allowed two runs in three innings July 24 in his only other outing against Staten Island this season. "We got the first win at home and we wanted to put it to them here. I just tried to stay in as long as I could and give the team a chance."

His offense gave him an early lead to work with, scoring three times in the opening frame. Kevin Mattison doubled and crossed the plate on a fielder's choice, Ben Lasater scored on a balk and Jeremy Synan stroked an RBI double. Robert Taylor hit a solo home run in the seventh to provide the final margin.

The Jammers rolled into the playoffs on a five-game winning streak and will attempt to claim their first league title by winning seven straight.

"We're real excited and we have good team chemistry going," Villanueva said. "It came down to the last four games and our coaches just told us to believe. That's been the model for the whole team. We've really come together the last couple games."

He and his teammates are well aware Jamestown has yet to win a league title.

"I think the excitement of knowing what's ahead and having that chance to play in the title round is more motivation for us," Villanueva said. "We want to be the first team here to win the Finals."

The Jammers will take on the winner of the Lowell Spinners-Batavia Muckdogs series, which is knotted at one game apiece.

"It's gonna be tough to win," Villanueva said. "It's baseball, anyone can win. We just gotta take the momentum we have now playing well and keep coming up big in key situations. We're excited to get it started."

Yankees starter Jonathan Albaladejo (0-1) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on four hits while striking out three in two innings. Box score

In other New York-Penn League action:

Batavia Muckdogs 13, Lowell Spinners 9
Chris Swauger collected four RBIs and Charles Cutler went 4-for-4 with three runs scored as Batavia scored 11 runs in the final three innings to force a decisive Game 3. Box score

Steve Conley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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