Cyclones in striking distance of wild card spot

September 5, 2012 By Jim Dolan For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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As of press time for this story, the Cyclones hold the fate of their season in their own hands just needing one win to clinch a wild card spot for the New York Penn League playoffs, a feat that they have often found difficult to do at home this season.

With two games left in the season and leading Batavia by one game for the Wild Card spot, 45-29 to 44-30, the Cyclones were unable to pull out a game against lowly (35-40) Lowell as the Spinners put a 9-1 whopping on the Cyclones to frustrate the Brooklyn faithful. “Sixteen singles in three games”, said Cyclone Manager Rich Donnelly.  “It’s not going to win us ball games; that must be a record for any league Triple-A down to little league”, commented Donnelly referring to winning one of three games over the Labor Day weekend.
Poly Prep 2007 grad Kevin Heller joins his family, Frank, Sean and Cathy on the field prior to Lowell’s 9-1 win over the Cyclones.  Heller was drafted in the 40th round this season after completing his degree in economics from Amherst after spending the majority of the summer in the Red Sox Gulf Coast League in Fort Myers Florida.  In his Brooklyn debut playing right field, Heller went 2 for 4 with a double, single, scoring one run and committing one error.
Although the Cyclones got in a rain-delayed game for the eventual 9-1 loss to Lowell, the Muckdogs were rained out in western New York that’s forced a double header to be played in Batavia against Jamestown on the last day of the season.  With Brooklyn’s record now at 45-30, the Cyclones could clinch a playoff spot with a win or at least one Batavia loss.  If Batavia takes both ends of their make up double header and Brooklyn blows their last game, then the Cyclones could go home for the season.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our pitching for tomorrow’s game”, said Rich Donnelly on the scheduling of RHP Luis Mateo to finish the regular season’s finale.  “Our pitching has been our strength all year.”  The RHP Craig Hansen poses with Clubhouse Manager John Torres and his son Jordan.  Hansen, a 2006 draft pick for the Red Sox out of St. Johns, has been rehabbing with the Cyclones after a layoff from baseball.Cyclone fan Amanda Bliss displays Bobby Parnell’s jersey on Cyclone giveaway jersey night.  Parnell, now a relief pitcher with the New York Mets, was a 2005 All Star for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Cyclone skipper added, “In either case it’s an win-win for us; we either go home or are in the playoffs.”
Looking at the team’s performance, Donnelly said, “I’m proud of this team and what they’ve done. They came into spring training as a young team and played well considering how young they were.  As for the pitching all I can say is wow, it carried us all season.”
In an August 23 call up from Triple-A Buffalo, RHP Collin McHugh made a sterling major league debut for the New York Mets in a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies.  McHugh pitched 7 shutout innings recording 9 strikeouts while just giving up 2 hits and issuing 1 walk.  In 2009 McHugh was the opening day pitcher for the Cyclones earning a season record of 8-2.One bright spot for the New York Mets this season has been the quite emergence of former 2009 Cyclone RHP Collin McHugh.  With the Mets shutting down Johan Santana in late August, McHugh got the call from Triple-A Buffalo to pitch the afternoon getaway day game against the Rockies at Citi Field.  Despite his record of 2-4 with a 3.42 ERA, Buffalo Manager Wally Backman felt that McHugh had enough command of the plate to make a successful spot start in Flushing.

As it turns out Backman was right as McHugh exhibited that command striking out 9 Rockies over 7 innings, only giving up 2 hits along with one walk over 7 scoreless innings for the eventual 2-0 Mets loss.  After his debut, McHugh was sent back to Buffalo for another outing with the plan to recall him back to the Mets in September.

This article was prepared for publication in the Bay Ridge Eagle on Sept. 3, 2012.

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