The suddenly resurgent first place Brooklyn Cyclones rode their young hurlers to their third straight victory with a 3-1 win over the cellar-dweller Batavia Muckdogs last night at MCU Park in Coney Island.
Cyclones starter Gaby Almonte had a rough start, sandwiching a one out triple by 3B Angel Reyes between two strikeouts. Catcher Brad Haynal’s clutch two out single brought home the game’s first run.
The visitors threatened to blow open the game in the second, loading the bases with two walks and a one out single by shortstop Gio Alfonso, the #9 hitter and relative of Cyclones Coach Edgardo Alfonzo. But Almonte then induced 2B Taylor Munden to tap weakly back to the mound, and Gaby turned that into an inning ending double play that was literally as easy as 1-2-3 on your scorecard.
The twin kill seemed to inspire the Cyclones, who began their one out rally in the second with a full count walk to Jeff Diehl. DH Brandon Brosher went Bam-Bam on Muckdogs starter Dilleon Peters by turning the southpaw’s first offering into a double. Peters got a huge second out by striking out LF Hengelbert Rojas, but C Manuel Hillario saved the day with a clutch two out, two run single to give the Cyclones a lead they would never relinquish.
The Cyclones added an insurance run in the 6th when Peters turned the ball over to reliever Nick White. White was wild and walked 3B David Thompson & Diehl on only nine pitches. Brosher then blasted a long fly ball that CF Stone Garrett was able to track down, allowing Thompson to advance to third base. Rojas then brought Thompson home with an RBI ground out to second.
After six innings Cyclones skipper asked his firemen to keep the Muckdogs cooled down, and they responded with their usual outstanding work. Southpaw P.J. Conlon gave up one hit in the 7th, and Corey Taylor was so dominant that if you blinked you missed him inducing three groundouts to SS, 2B, & 3B in a six pitch 8th inning. Their holds gave closer Alex Palsha a chance to add to his league lead in saves, and he did not disappoint, retiring the side in order with a strikeout looking, a diving highlight reel stop at first base by 9th inning defensive replacement Zach Mathieu, finishing with a can of corn to CF Tucker Tharp to get the happy crowd ready for the Coney Island Boardwalk Fireworks extravaganza that followed the game.
NOTE: In honor of FDNY Night & the FDNY’s 150th Anniversary, the Cyclones and their fans helped smash the record for most first pitches. 150 FDNY representatives threw to 150 Cyclones fans. I had the honor of helping FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro warm up and then catching a first pitch from the father of a fallen fireman.