Cyclones continue to get ‘extra’ work in
Suffer Fourth Grueling Loss of Season, 9-8, to Spikes in 11 Frames
There has been nothing even remotely short about the Cyclones’ Class A Short-Season schedule this summer.
With Wednesday night’s heartbreaking, 9-8, 11-inning loss at State College, Brooklyn has gone into extra frames in five of its first 13 contests, logging an unfathomable 136 2/3 innings in the first two weeks of its Sweet 16 season on Coney Island.
That’s 8 2/3 more innings than the Cyclones’ nearest competitor in that department, McNamara Division-leading Staten Island (11-2), and nearly 30 more frames than Mahoning Valley, which has logged a New York-Penn League-low 107 innings in its first 13 contests.
Opening Night, a mind-numbing 20-inning loss to arch rival Staten Island at MCU Park on June 17, set the tone for what has been a surreal stretch of long games for the Baby Bums (6-7), who had their season-high three-game winning streak snapped by the Spikes on Wednesday after rallying to take a brief seventh-inning lead on Brandon Brosher’s dramatic grand slam.
Brooklyn played 56 innings in its first four games this season, including a whopping 17-inning, 10-9 home loss to Tri-City back on June 20 that left third-year manager Tom Gamboa wondering how much more his stable of hurlers could take.
“It is what it is,” Gamboa lamented after his team spent six hours and five minutes on the field that night. “When you play 56 innings in four days, there’s no pitching staff anywhere that can handle that.”
Gamboa has been forced to employ position players like first baseman Dionis Paulino, second basemen Franklin Correa and Santo Marte out of the beleaguered bullpen during the slew of marathon games.
The trio combined to give up five runs over five innings of relief during the campaign’s initial week.
Gamboa didn’t have to go to non-pitchers on Wednesday, but was once again forced to overload his bullpen as starter Merandy Gonzalez managed to last only two innings after surrendering five runs – four earned – on seven hits with three walks.
After Dillon Becker gave up two runs over the next two frames, Austin McGeorge, Gary Cornish, Gabriel Feliz, Joseph Zanghi and Alejandro Castro (1-1) limited the Spikes to just one run over the last 6 1/3 innings.
But it wasn’t enough as the Cyclones fell for the fourth time in their five marathon affairs, a grueling stretch that includes a 10-inning loss in Staten Island on June 18 that saw the Baby Bums no-hit for the first time in franchise history.
While Gamboa has stressed a need for better at-bats from his hitters, it wasn’t their fault that Brooklyn dropped below .500 on the season Wednesday night. At least it didn’t appear it would be.
Brosher came to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh with the Cyclones down three runs and promptly belted his first homer of the summer over the left field fence at Medlar Field, giving the Cyclones an 8-7 lead.
But Feliz failed to hold that advantage in the bottom half, issuing a leadoff walk to Tommy Edman and a two-out RBI single to Ryan McCarvel as State College knotted the contest.
The Cyclones, who left 10 men on base and went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, squandered chances to get a man in from second base in three of the next four innings before Castro beaned Dylan Tice with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th to leave Brooklyn with yet another hard-to-swallow defeat.
“The guys are obviously tired and worn out,” Gamboa ceded last week.
Tired of losing, and doubtlessly worn out from taking so long to do so.
This, That and the Other Thing: Brooklyn sent LHP Joel Huertas to the hill Thursday night in the hopes of taking the deciding game of their series at State College before returning home for this weekend’s three-game set with Connecticut on Surf Avenue. … SS Colby Woodmansee, the Mets’ fifth-round pick out of Arizona State earlier this month, is off to a sizzling start in Brooklyn, batting a team-high .394 (13-for-33) with four RBIs and six runs scored in his first eight games as a professional. … Brosher, 3B Jay Jabs and OF Jacob Zanon are in a three-way tie for the team lead with six RBIs. … Left-handed reliever Taylor Henry has been the stalwart of the Brooklyn bullpen thus far, yielding four hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings in his first five relief appearances for the Cyclones.
In local high school sports news, Brooklyn Collegiate boys head basketball coach Malcolm Connor, a native of Crown Heights, has orchestrated quite a turnaround at the Brownsville high school.
After inheriting a program that had graduated approximately 50 percent of its players, Connor came in and put an emphasis on the “student” aspect of the student-athlete, and the results have been tremendous over the past two years.
By focusing on study hall and tutoring in addition to the team’s practice habits, Connor and the school’s administrators were proud to reveal last week that 10 of his players have graduated BC, with seven going on to play at the collegiate level.
Connor’s players will be attending Southwest Tennessee, Olive Harvey College (IL); Eastern University (PA), Alfred State University (NY), Morrisville State (NY), Broome Community College (NY) and Finger Lakes Community College (NY) this year.
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