Pitching takes center stage for Cyclones

July 22, 2021 Jim Dolan
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After the All-Star break, the Brooklyn Cyclones resumed play with a homestand against the Jersey Shore Blue Claws that saw a pre-game salute to Margo Catsimatidis as one of the Cyclone “Winning Women” award recipients. She and her billionaire investor husband John were honored for their development of Coney Island with the opening of the Ocean Drive Towers apartment complex just blocks away from Maimonides Park.  

For the Blue Claw series, fans saw the resurgence of second-half Cyclone pitching as Jaison Vilera pitched five scoreless innings only to end up with a no-decision in a 1-0 win. The following day, fans finally saw the long-awaited return of the New York Mets’ Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco. Although the Cyclones lost 13-3, the 6-foot-4 righthander pitched two scoreless innings after rehabbing his spring training hamstring injury.

However, the best pitching performance of the week was turned in by Connor Grey. The Frewsburg, N.Y. native missed a no-hitter by two outs in Brooklyn’s 6-1 win. Grey joined the Cyclones in June after starting the season with the independent Chicago Dogs. The four-year Arizona minor league journeyman said he was confident when he took the mound with a 6-0 lead in the top of the ninth.

The Cyclones’ “Winning Women” recipient Margo Catsimatidis warms up for the ceremonial first pitch along with her son John Jr., daughter Andrea and husband John. Also joining Catsimatidis were retired New York Mets, Dwight Gooden, Ed Kranepool, John Franco and Art Shamsky, left to right. Photo by Jim Dolan

“Connor Grey was locked in on Friday night,” said Cyclones radio broadcaster Keith Raad. “Interestingly enough, he was not in new territory. During his time in the Arizona system, Grey threw a perfect game in September of 2017. He wasn’t nervous at all going into the ninth.”

However, with one out in the ninth, Grey gave up an inside-the-park home run as Antoine Duplantis attempted a diving catch of Corbin Williams’s line drive, which rolled to the center field wall. 

Grey finished with a pitching line of 8.1 scoreless innings on one hit with nine strikeouts for his first Cyclone win. Although lightning didn’t strike twice for Grey, he still received thunderous applause from the fans.  

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