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Hotter than July: Sabol, Cyclones blazing through Brooklyn heat wave

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The sweltering heat beating down on Coney Island has got nothing on Stefan Sabol and the sizzling Brooklyn Cyclones.

Sabol went went 2-for-4 with his first pro homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, as the Baby Bums celebrated Independence Day before a sun-drenched crowd of 6,400 at MCU Park with their season-high sixth straight win, a 9-5 thumping of visiting Williamsport.

The 20-year-old Sabol, the Mets' 17th-round pick out of Orange Coast College in California last month, is batting an earth-scorching .432 (16-for-37) with a homer, five doubles, six RBIs and seven runs scored during his recent run, boosting his overall average to .360 through 14 games for the Class A short-season franchise by the sea.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed hitting left fielder doubled home a run and scored during Brooklyn's four-run first inning. He walked in the third before leading off the fifth with a booming blast over the center-field wall to spark a five-run outburst as the Cyclones erased an ever-so-brief 5-4 deficit.

Though he humbly credits batting instructor Bobby Malek and the protection provided by hot-hitting first-baseman/designated hitter Cole Frenzel (.411) for his seemingly unconscious surge at the plate, Sabol continues to impress Brooklyn fans, who braved the sun Wednesday while enjoying the Cyclones' seventh win in nine games on Surf Avenue thus far this summer.

"[I'm] just trying to put the barrel on the ball and help my teammates out," Sabol said of his hitting streak. "Bobby's been working with me in the cages before the game, emphasizing my swing path. I've got Frenzel in front of me and that helps me as well."

 Right-hander reliever Dawrin Frias escaped a fifth-inning jam Wednesday as Brooklyn rallied for its season-high sixth straight win at Coney Island's MCU Park. Eagle photo by Bill KotsatosWhile first-round picks Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki have received most of the ink during Brooklyn's early season run to the top of the McNamara Division, Sabol has quietly taken shape as one of the team's most reliable presences, both in the lineup and in the outfield.

"I think when you're in the minor leagues you have something prove every day," he noted. "I'm just going out there and having fun."

Frenzel, who went 2-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and two RBIs Wednesday, may not be long for Brooklyn as the organization may soon send him up to Class A Savannah or Class A Advanced St. Lucie before the month is up. His possible full-time replacement at first base, Jayce Boyd, collected two more hits against the CrossCutters, upping his average to .462 through three games since joining the Cyclones.

Brooklyn manager Rich Donnelly, who led the Baby Bums to the playoffs with a late-season surge last summer, is certainly enjoying looking down at the rest of the division with a 13-4 record and a healthy four-game lead over second-place Hudson Valley. But the 65-year-old skipper knows that player development trumps winning at this level, and he's keen on seeing both improve over the 76-game grind of the New York-Penn League schedule.

“I’m kind of a harsh judge," Donnelly revealed after his team improved to 8-4 with a 5-2 victory over Aberdeen last Friday night at MCU. "I want them to be more consistent. I don’t want them to make mistakes, foolish mistakes. I’m always looking for a perfect game. I don’t know if I’m going to get it, but I’m looking for it."

The Cyclones' latest win was hardly perfect as starter Julian Hilario, who had yielded two earned runs over 10 innings in his first two outings, was chased in the fifth after surrendering five runs three earned on a season-high eight hits over 4 2/3 frames. Fortunately, the Brooklyn bullpen was stellar thereafter, with Dawrin Frias (2-2), Matthew Koch and Ernesto Yanez providing 4 1/3 innings of one-hit scoreless relief.

* * *
This, That and the Other Thing: CF Nimmo, who was dropped to eighth in the batting order last week by Donnelly after getting off to a slow start, returned to his customary No. 2 position and produced instant results. On Wednesday, the Mets' 2011 first-rounder out of Wyoming crushed a three-run homer over the right-field wall to cap Brooklyn's five-run fifth inning. He has 10 RBIs in his last five games and 13 for the season despite a paltry .182 average. ... RHP Matt Bowman, a 13th-round pick out of Princeton last month, picked up his first pro win Tuesday, allowing a run on one hit over two innings in Brooklyn's 7-5 victory at Hudson Valley. The 21-year-old Ivy Leaguer has struck out seven over four innings in his first two pro appearances, drawing comparisons to San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, both for his unique delivery and the long locks stuffed under his ball cap when he first arrived at spring training. "He cut his hair," Donnelly revealed. "He showed up at spring training with a mane. He looked like Secretariat." Bowman made his pro debut last Friday, closing out Brooklyn's 5-2 win over Aberdeen by striking out five over two scoreless innings for his first pro save. “It had been a while since I’ve been in a real game so I’ve been chomping at the bit to get in," he said after the strong outing. "I was a little too amped up. You have to make sure that you keep it under control. You get too amped up and you tend to overthrow." ... Despite a painfully slow start at the plate, 2B Richie Rodriguez, the Mets' ninth-round pick out of Eastern Kentucky last month, got the start in the leadoff spot Wednesday. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout, but hasn't carried his hitting woes on the field, where he has committed only one error this summer.
July 5, 2012 - 3:26pm


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