Cyclones begin opening week with a .500 start

June 26, 2013 Jim Dolan
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In his third consecutive year at the helm of the Cyclones, Rich Donnelly has the challenging task of taking a team of young minor league players who have been in Port St. Lucie for extended spring training for two and a half months since early March and blending with them with recent college and high school draftees.

Mixed among his roster is the Mets’ 2012 number one draft pick shortstop 19-year-old Gavin Cecchini and the 2013 number four draft pick, second baseman L. J. Mazzilli, son of former New York Met, Lee Mazzilli.

Adding some pop to the lineup is right fielder free agent James Roche who played last season in the Independent League with the Newark Bears, as well as returning relief pitcher, John Mincone who hails from Melville, Long Island.

“The pitching is always ahead of the hitting at this point in the season,” contended Manager Donnelly.

“We’ve gotten good pitching thus far; now our hitting has to catch up,” stated Donnelly on his 3-3 start. “Different than last year’s team, we have some speed which will make up for the some offense.”

After losing two games to the rival Staten Island Yankees and one game to the Aberdeen Ironbirds, Donnelly still sees his team getting off on a positive foot, noting the team’s aggression on the base paths.

“You’ve got to see that aggression in these players if they want to make it to CitiField,” emphasized Donnelly. After losing to Aberdeen 5-4 the previous night in 10 innings, the Cyclones showed some of that aggression Donnelly spoke about the night before when they tied up the game 3-3 going into the ninth inning against the Hudson Valley Renegades at Sunday’s game at MCU Park.

Stretching the bullpen into the 12th inning, Donnelly called upon the fast emerging bullpen ace, left handed pitcher John Mincone who struck out five out of six Renegades batters into the top of the 13th inning. With teammate Jared King on base, leading Cyclone hitter (.316) James Roche sent the ball into the left field corner to plate King for the winning run for the 4-3 win.

Handing the first place Renegades (6-1) their first loss of the season, the second place Cyclones (3-3) start a five-game road trip to Hudson Valley and Aberdeen which will test their mettle.

After their first road trip, the Cyclones return to Brooklyn Saturday, June 29, at 6 p.m. at MCU Park to play once again what will be their early familiar divisional rival, Hudson Valley.

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