Walker dominates the mound to begin Cyclone season
Brooklyn Cyclones manager Ed Blankmeyer apparently picked “the sharpest tool in the shed” when he selected lefty pitcher Josh Walker to begin the team’s 2021 season against the Ashville Tourists in North Carolina. In an opening day gem, Walker threw five hitless and scoreless innings with eight strikeouts for the eventual 8-2 win.
Moving on to play Greenville, Walker lost none of his opening day edge and pitched another five innings, giving up four hits and one run while recording seven strikeouts for the Cyclones’ 6-1 win over the Drive. Finishing up the Greenville series, Walker came back down to earth, giving up four runs in five innings for a no-decision in a 10-9 loss.
With a 4-7 road record, the Cyclones returned to Brooklyn May 18 for their home opener series against the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Pitching against the hard-hitting Hudson Valley Yankee affiliate in the fourth game of the series, Walker was roughed up in the first inning for a run on four hits. The southpaw then settled down and pitched into the sixth, retiring the last 16 of the 18 batters he faced. Aided by Brett Baty’s two RBIs to get the 4-1 victory, Walker earned his third win of the season while striking out four and giving up one early run on three hits.
Cyclones broadcaster Keith Raad said, “Josh struggled early and faced some adversity with his control. However, it was extremely short-lived and he cruised afterwards. It’s a testament to his development and his maturity. I could see a start like this making the Mets very happy with him.”
As good as Walker has been, his catcher Hayden Senger has been impressive as well. Hitting a robust .302, Senger was the hero of the last game of the Hudson Valley series, hitting a game-ending three-run homer to beat the Renegades 5-4 in 12 innings to even the homestand at 3-3. After completing the Hudson Valley series, the 7-10 Cyclones take on the Aberdeen Iron Birds in another six-game home series.
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