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(Photo by Jeff Auger - JSN)

Patriots Bats Heat Up, Take Four From Reading

New York Yankees Double-A affiliate Somerset Patriots took four of six games from the Reading Fightin’ Phils (Philadelphia Phillies affiliate) this past week. The Patriots moved to 20-9 on the season, putting them atop the Northeast division standings.

The Patriots bats were scorching hot throughout the series, as the team hit 11 home runs through the six games, scoring 29 runs.

Infielder Diego Castillo continued his hot start to the season with ten hits and three home runs over five games played in the series. Castillo also had three doubles and four RBI, to bring his batting average up to .350 on the season. 

“It was good to see Diego,” Patriots Manager Julio Mosquera said in the teams postgame press conference. “He just came back from being out for a little bit and he was swinging the bat well before he got hurt. Now he’s got back into things and we hope he can continue to do the same things (he’s been doing.)”

First baseman Dermis Garcia added three home runs during the series, including two on Tuesday night, bringing his total to ten long balls on the season, second in the Northeast League. 

Infielder Oliver Dunn propelled the Patriots to a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, hitting a clutch home run in game one, and a three-run double in game two which led Somerset to a 6-1 victory. 

Late inning heroics lifted the Patriots to a 5-4 victory on Wednesday night, after being down 4-0 until the seventh inning, a two-RBI double by Michael Beltre and two-run home run by Diego Castillo tied the game going into extra innings. Isiah Gilliam came up to the plate with two runners on base and hit a walk-off single to give the Patriots a win.

“This team always plays until the last minute, the last out,” Mosquera said. “These players are so resilient and they're going to go out there and compete.”

“I think as long as we have outs remaining, you can't count us out, regardless of what the score is,” Gilliam added. “Top to bottom, we get the cylinders turning. I feel like it's a new guy (delivering) everyday.”

Patriots pitchers continued their dominance of opponents from previous weeks, striking out 72 batters over the series. 

Matt Krook had a near perfect performance in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, throwing five innings while allowing no hits or runs, striking out eight, and walking two.

JP Sears struck out ten, allowing no runs and three hits in his start on Tuesday, while Janson Junk allowed only two runs through eight innings of work through the series. 

The Patriots got some help from Yankees reliever and two-time MLB All-Star Zack Britton throughout the week, who pitched in Wednesday and Saturday’s games on rehab assignment. Britton will now head to Triple-A Scranton for a couple of outings before returning to the big leagues.

Up Next For Patriots

The Patriots will hit the road and head to Erie, PA, where they will face off with the Seawolves (Tigers affiliate) in a six game series beginning on Tuesday night. They will return home the following week, for a series with the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants affiliate) beginning on June 15.

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Eli Fishman is the Minor League Baseball writer for Jersey Sporting News. He has experience writing for sites such as In The Zone and Last Word on Baseball as well as writing for his school paper, The Columbian. Eli is an incoming freshman at Ithaca College and will be majoring in Sports Media.

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