Cyclone pitching earns a tie for Wild Card contention

August 15, 2014 Jim Dolan
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After a nosedive in July, the Cyclones righted the ship in early August to earn a tie for the top spot for the season-ending Wild Card playoff position with a record of 29-26.

With all three of the New York Penn League’s divisions being virtually sewn up by Hudson Valley (38-16), State College (33-21) and Tri-City (36-18), the Cyclones still have a third of the season left to fend off the 29-26 Connecticut Tigers for the Wild Card lead.

“With 25 games left to go, we’re even with this Connecticut team for the Wild Card. I expect some exciting baseball down the stretch because we’re still in it,” claimed Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa.

Helping the Cyclones into playoff contention has been the addition of the Mets’ 2014 first round draft pick Michael Conforto to the lineup, as well as the steady bats of New York Penn League All Stars Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena.

Since Conforto has come to Brooklyn, the team has been 11-5, benefiting from his keen eye at the plate to expand the team’s lineup. Although the offense has picked up, it was the Cyclones’ pitching that kept them in contention prior to the arrival of Conforto, according to Manager Tom Gamboa.

Along with their best starting pitcher, Penn League All Star Marcos Molina (5-1; 1:27), the Cyclones also feature an All Star closer this season. Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, 22-year-old Shane Bay ranks second in the league with 11 saves, just one behind the leader with 12.

Exhibiting a steely closer persona, Bay recently closed out a narrow 4-3 win over the Connecticut Tigers in the last game of the Cyclones’ August 4 home stand, pitching an inning and a third, striking out one while giving up no walks, hits or runs.

“He’s as cool as a cucumber,” said Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa. “When he comes out of the bullpen to take the mound, he’s totally poised.” After earning his first save in Hudson Valley on June 18, Bay has gone 11 for 11 in late inning save opportunities. Making a re-appearance with the Cyclones for a second season, the left-handed Bay has found success out of the bullpen after an elbow injury curtailed his 2013 season.

In addition to an effective closer, the Cyclones have recently bolstered their starting pitching rotation with the acquisition of right hand pitcher Martires Aries from the Rookie Appalachian League in Kingsport, Tennessee.

With the recent promotion of Octavio Acosta (3-2; 2.14) to Single-A Savannah, the 23-year-old, 6’ 7” Aries earned a 4-0, 0.50 record over eight games at Kingsport to warrant a call up to Brooklyn.

Making his debut on the road for a Cyclone 4-0 win over the Mahoning Valley (Youngstown, Ohio) Scrappers, Aries threw an impressive scoreless six innings for the win, striking out six while giving up two hits and three walks.

Reflecting on the Mets as an organization, Manager Gamboa stated, “Historically, for the Mets since the time of Seaver, Koosman and Matlack, the organization has always stressed pitching and we’re benefiting from that right now.”

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