Adolph shines for Cyclones on All-Star stage
Cyclones outfielder paces South to 7-1 win in late-summer classic
One of six Brooklyn Cyclones All-Stars, outfielder Ross Adolph shone brightest Tuesday night in State College, Pennsylvania.
Adolph homered, tripled, drove in three runs and scored twice to capture Most Valuable Player honors at the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in front of 3,046 fans at Lubrano Park, powering the South team to a convincing 7-1 victory over the North.
The Mets’ 12th-round pick out of the University of Toledo stole the show right from the outset as he was inserted into the third slot in the South squad’s lineup after batting primarily out of the leadoff spot here in Coney Island.
Adolph socked a two-run triple in the opening frame to spark the South’s rout and scored shortly thereafter on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Williamsport’s Edwin Rodriguez.
The 21-year-old Findlay, Ohio native locked up his MVP trophy in the fourth inning by banging the first offering from Hudson Valley hurler Jake Labosky over the fence in right field, giving the South a 4-1 advantage.
“I was feeling pretty good after the first at-bat, so I pretty much told myself that if I go up there and see [the first pitch] over the plate, I was just going to take a good hack at it,” Adolph told MiLB.com.
“I happened to get a good chunk at it.”
Adolph, who ranks second on the 14-team circuit with seven triples this summer and leads Brooklyn with a .769 on-base-plus-slugging average, has steadily improved during his first 42 professional games with the Baby Bums.
He is batting .261 with two homers, five doubles, 21 RBIs and 27 runs scored thus far this year, helping the Cyclones remain in the hunt for the McNamara Division title and the NY-Penn’s lone wild-card spot.
With 15 of his 41 hits going for extra-bases this season, Adolph has emerged as an instant threat at the top of Brooklyn’s lineup, which sent it’s top three batters — Adolph, Wagner LaGrange and Carlos Cortes — to the late-summer classic.
“Just kind of growing and adapting to the change of professional ball from college,” Adolph told MiLB in regard to his first taste of Class A short-season baseball.
“At first, it was just a slow change and trying to get into a routine. But now I’m feeling comfortable and it’s awesome to see how far I’ve come and, hopefully, I can continue to carry it over.”
LaGrange and Cortes went a combined 2-for-4 at the plate with Cortes swiping a base and Brooklyn relievers Yeudy Colon and Billy Oxford each tossed a scoreless frame out of the bullpen to keep the North All-Stars at bay.
Cyclones staff ace and NY-Penn Pitcher of the Year candidate Jaison Vilera did not pitch in the contest after tossing five scoreless frames in Sunday’s extra-inning victory over Lowell.
Adolph, Vilera and the rest of the Cyclones (30-25) have 21 games left this summer to reel in first-place Hudson Valley, whom they trail by three games. Brooklyn, which has not reached the playoffs in any of the last five summers, is only one-half game behind Auburn in the hunt for the wild card.
The Cyclones were slated to kick off their post-All-Star break slate on Surf Avenue Wednesday night against visiting Vermont, the opener of a two-game set.
Following that series, the Baby Bums will head back to Hudson Valley to battle the Renegades, who swept them in three consecutive walk-off wins at Dutchess Stadium earlier this month.
Vilera, who is 5-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 10 starts this summer, figures to get the ball in that critical series, which could set the stage for yet another crucial showdown when the teams meet here in Brooklyn from Aug. 29-31 during the final week of the regular season.
This, That and the Other Thing: State College manager Joe Kruzel, the skipper of the South team, informed Adolph just before the game that he would be batting third, two slots down in the order from his customary leadoff spot. “That’s how I found out I was in the starting lineup,” Adolph noted. “Once I found out, I just started getting mentally prepared and just came out to try and have fun and do my thing.” … Oxford and Colon combined to allow three hits and a walk with two strikeouts during their two innings on the hill Tuesday night. The back end of Brooklyn’s bullpen has put up some impressive numbers during the first two months of the campaign. Oxford is 6-1 with a 1.74 ERA over 18 appearances and Colon boasts a 3-2 mark with a 1.19 ERA in the same amount of outings … Though Vilera has received most of the headlines this summer, another Cyclone hurler was the first to nab the NY-Penn Pitcher of the Week award this season. Right-hander Kyle Wilson, who tossed five no-hit innings against Connecticut last Friday, received the honor on Tuesday. Wilson, the Mets’ 35th-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, has fired 12 consecutive scoreless innings over his last two outings and 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA overall this year. Earlier this season, Vilera tossed a team-record 29 2/3 scoreless frames, but he was not named NY-Penn Pitcher of the Week at any point during that run.
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