Cyclones locked in tight McNamara race
Brooklyn is in a three-way tie with Hudson Valley and Aberdeen for first place.
Winners of three in a row and five of their previous six games, the Brooklyn Cyclones got a rare reprieve from the perpetual grind of their Class A short season schedule this week.
Brooklyn enjoyed its New York-Penn League-wide day off Tuesday before having its showdown with Hudson Valley rained out Wednesday night.
That meant two straight days off for a club that is already 30 games into a 76-game summer grind, which it hopes will result in the franchise’s first postseason berth since 2012.
After missing out on the postseason by just a half-game last season, the Cyclones (17-13) were lumbering along during this campaign’s first full month before catching fire of late.
Brooklyn completed a 5-1 homestand Monday with a 4-0 blanking of West Virginia Monday morning in front of a Kids Camp Day crowd of 4,575 at sun-splashed MCU Park, finishing off the Cyclones’ first three-game winning streak since they closed out June with a season-high five consecutive victories.
Right-hander Garrison Bryant keyed the pitching gem by tossing five innings of two-hit ball with two walks and seven strikeouts before Corey Gaconi, Jared Biddy and Justin Lasko completed the combined four-hitter.
Bryant, the parent-club Mets’ 36th-round selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, held the Black Bears hitless until Blake Sabol led off the fifth inning with a bunt single and moved to third on Ryan Haug’s ensuing double.
Undaunted, Bryant, a 20-year-old Deerfield, New Hampshire native, wiggled out of the tight jam by striking out Nick Patten and inducing Cory Wood into a 6-3 double play two batters later.
Center fielder Anthony Dirocie keyed Brooklyn’s offense in the matinee by lining an RBI single in the bottom of the second and adding a two-run homer, his first of the summer, over the left-field fence to cap a three-run seventh for Brooklyn.
Despite their recent hot streak, the Cyclones remained deadlocked with Aberdeen and Hudson Valley for the top spot in the McNamara Division with nearly two-thirds of the summer slate remaining.
Dirocie, who spent 44 games with Brooklyn last season, needed the breakout performance after driving in just three runs in his first 14 games this year and struggling at the plate with a paltry .175 average entering Thursday’s scheduled doubleheader with the Renegades at Dutchess County Stadium.
Lasko, a Connecticut native who was selected by the Mets out of the University of Massachusetts last month, has yet to yield an earned run in his first seven professional appearances.
He worked a spotless ninth inning to close out Monday’s win, keeping his ERA at 0.00 over eight frames without walking a batter.
This, That and the Other Thing: The Cyclones will return from their current six-game road trip next week and celebrate an early Christmas at MCU Park on Thursday, July 25 by handing out 2,000 Parachute Jump Light-Up Tree Ornaments, courtesy of Remsen Street’s St. Francis College. Game time is 7 p.m. and gates will open an hour before first pitch … Infielder Wilmer Reyes went 0-for-4 in Monday’s win, but has been Brooklyn’s hottest hitter of late. The non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic had produced at least one hit in 11 of his previous 12 games, batting a sizzling .413 (19-for-46) during that stretch. Reyes is batting .329 with two homers and nine RBIs through his first 20 contests with the Cyclones.
In local college sports news, new Long Island University women’s head basketball coach Rene Haynes announced her assistant staff last Friday, helping the newly renamed Sharks welcome Chris Dunn, Kalisha Keane and Cara Pearson to Downtown Brooklyn.
LIU also revealed that Faith Suggs was coming aboard as the program’s director of basketball operations for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign, which will see the Sharks remain in Brooklyn alongside the men’s basketball team.
“Chris, Kalisha, Cara and Faith will be a huge part in building our program. They all have collegiate and professional experience.” said Haynes, who came to Flatbush Avenue in April after spending five years as an assistant at Duke University.
“Success will come from the teaching and development of our players,” she added. “They are great people, motivators, and are very knowledgeable about the game of basketball.”
While most of the other LIU sports programs have moved out to Brookville, N.Y. following the merging of the two campuses, Hayes’ Sharks will still be playing their home games at the Steinberg Wellness Center.
Last season, LIU went 4-25 overall and 3-15 in Northeast Conference action, failing to reach the NEC Tournament after reaching the championship semifinals the previous year.
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