Wahlbergs team up with Cyclones for Irish Night win
It was a chance meeting on the field at MCU Park between Donnie Wahlberg and Mookie Wilson when the CBS “Blue Bloods” star decided to take a few good-natured ribs at the New York Mets 1986 Game 6 World Series hero. Engaging in some baseball banter before the July 21 Aberdeen game, the Dorchester, Massachusetts native told Wilson, “I’m going to break the curse that the Mets have over the Boston Red Sox when I throw out the first pitch tonight.”
Wahlberg explained further, saying, “We broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 and now it’s time to break the Curse of Mookie Wilson!” Laughingly, Wilson said that he wasn’t aware of the curse and gave Wahlberg a pat on the back and wished him well as Wilson returned to the clubhouse and Wahlberg walked to the Cyclone bullpen to practice for his ceremonial first pitch.
Ensuring that he’d make a good first pitch, the Cyclone staff lent Wahlberg Cyclone Pitching Coach Billy Bryk and right-handed pitcher Gary Cornish for a bullpen session. After 20 minutes of pitching in the pen, Bryk pronounced Wahlberg “ready to toe the rubber.” Unfortunately, the instruction went for naught as the Red Sox rooter realized his worse fear on the mound and bounced the ball in front of home plate on his delivery to the catcher.
Having missed Wahlberg’s first pitch, Wilson was informed of the short throw during the game to which he exclaimed with a wry smile, “Well if he bounced the ball, it doesn’t count to break my curse. Does it now?!”
However, some of Wahlberg’s Irish-Swedish heritage magic did rub off on the Cyclones as the team got lucky in the ninth inning on Irish Night and managed to hold on for a narrow 3-2 win. After the Cyclones’ emerging pitching ace Harol Gonzalez held Aberdeen scoreless over 7.2 innings with nine strikeouts, the Brooklyn bullpen uncharacteristically gave up two runs in the ninth inning to make the Cyclone fans once again grit their teeth.
Earlier in the sixth inning, Michael Paez played the hero and hit his first professional home run to give the Cyclones a 1-0 lead. Subsequently in the ninth inning, he nearly fell to a zero as the Mets 2016 fourth round draft pick misplayed a ground ball at second base with Aberdeen runners at second and third and two out. With one runner immediately scoring from third, the second runner was quickly gunned down for the final out at home plate attempting to tie the score at 3-3.
“I would have done the same thing with two outs,” said Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa commenting on Aberdeen’s aggressive base-running attempt to the tie the game in the ninth inning. Noting that even three runs are not really much of a lead going into the ninth inning with this season’s team, Gamboa was glad that Paez recovered from his fielding error and had the presence of mind to throw home quickly to get the last runner out to preserve Gonzalez’s win.
Paez’s recovery and quick throw to the plate allowed Gonzalez (2-1) to earn only his second win while avoiding what would have been his third “no decision” of the season. Currently, Gonzalez remains as the New York Penn League’s leader with 52 strikeouts along with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP,
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