At long last, Cyclones grab NY-Penn crown
Capture first outright championship and second title since 2001
The wait is finally over for Brooklyn’s Baby Bums!
After 18 years of frustration, the Cyclones are New York-Penn League champions again, capturing the crown in dramatic fashion Tuesday night at Coney Island’s MCU Park with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Lowell Spinners in front of 2,050 satisfied fans.
“I hope they keep this feeling,” third-year Brooklyn manager Edgardo Alfonzo told MiLB.com after the Cyclones won their first-ever outright championship and second since their inaugural 2001 campaign.
“Any time you win the championship it’s a good feeling…You teach the guys how to play the game, but at the same time, you have to learn how to win championships. It’s a big part of the development of players in the Minor League system of any organization.”
The Cyclones have also been a big part of Brooklyn since arriving here in our fair borough nearly two decades ago, regularly leading the NY-Penn in attendance and providing endless family entertainment each summer on the fabled boardwalk.
But they had not tasted this type of victory since sharing the 2001 title with Williamsport, a championship that was marred by the Sept. 11 terror attacks that cut short the NY-Penn Finals with Brooklyn ahead one game to none on the CrossCutters.
These Cyclones can truly relish their accomplishment, which featured a regular season-ending sweep of arch rival Staten Island that got them back to the postseason for the first time since 2012 and clinched their first McNamara Division title in nine seasons.
The Baby Bums also had to win back-to-back elimination games against Hudson Valley just to reach the final round, which went to an ultimate Game 3 and saw them trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning.
That’s when Brooklyn mounted the rally that will long be remembered as one the most important in the history of the Mets’ Class A short-season affiliate by the sea.
Jake Mangum singled and scored on Antoine Duplantis’ clutch RBI triple to knot the score and came charging home when Yoel Romero rolled a ground ball single into left field for a 4-3 lead.
The Brooklyn bullpen, which yielded only three runs over 31 1/3 innings during this spirited playoff run, came through again in a big way in the season finale.
After Cyclones starter Nathan Jones was reached for two runs — one earned — on three hits and three walks with one strikeout over the first three innings, Brooklyn’s pen men went to work.
Right-hander Matthew Allan, the Mets’ third-round pick in this June’s MLB Draft, struck out two over three perfect frames before Mitch Ragan (1-0) gave up a run in the seventh on Marino Campana’s solo homer that many thought spelled doom for Brooklyn before the fateful bottom-half rally.
Armed with a one-run lead and six outs away from the title, left-hander Andrew Edwards had to work in and out of trouble in both the eighth and ninth to secure the save and the ultimate victory for Brooklyn.
Edwards certainly didn’t have it easy in the final frame as the resilient Spinners, who survived elimination games twice themselves against Batavia in the semifinals and in Game 2 here on Monday, nearly ruined the Cyclones’ magical night.
Nicholas Northcut led off the ninth with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Will Dalton, who moved up to second base when pinch-hitter Jaxx Groshans walked.
With the Brooklyn faithful on their feet and begging for two more outs, Andrews delivered, striking out Stephen Scott and Alex Erro to end the threat and spark a wild on-field celebration.
‘I told the guys earlier today, ‘It’s the last game and since we’ve got to go home, let’s go home happy,'” Alfonzo said after hoisting the championship trophy over his head while his players danced happily along the infield.
“But either way, they did a great job all year. From the first game to the last game, they never gave up. They always kept fighting…It was a great, great game tonight.”
And a great, great way to end a special summer here on Coney Island.
This, That and the Other Thing: After celebrating their win here in Brooklyn, the Cyclones were scheduled to take a trip to Flushing, N.Y, on Wednesday. The parent-club Mets were slated to honor the 2019 NY-Penn champs at Citi Field in a pregame ceremony ahead of their showdown with the Arizona Diamondbacks … Duplantis finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored Tuesday while Mets’ first-round pick Brett Baty went 0-for-3 but drew a walk and scored a run.
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