Looking to secure their first series sweep at home this season, the Brooklyn Cyclones offense kicked it into high gear, scoring
four runs in the fourth inning and behind great pitching from Tobi Stoner, coasted to a 4-0 victory against the Mahoning Valley
Scrappers, putting them over .500 for the first time this season.
After last night’s 2-1 victory against
Mahoning Valley, the Cyclones somehow managed to climb back up to .500 for only the second time this season with a 17-17 record
overall, erasing the remnants of a atrocious 0-7 start. Subsequently, the team’s record since the disastrous start has
been a solid 17-10. Manager George Greer attributes the team’s recent success to stellar pitching and timely hitting.
“If you get outstanding pitching,
solid defense and put together some timely hits and have people who are unselfish as far as moving runners along, putting
people into scoring position and getting quality at-bats, doing all the things we teach in the minor leagues, I think at some
point it’s going to catch on,” said Greer. “You just hope it catches on when it means something. Obviously,
it’s caught on a little bit.”
Owning a 3.93 ERA through six starts this
season, Tobi Stoner, the 6’2 switch-hitting right hander from Davis & Elkins College would get the start tonight
and would be a force, giving up only one hit through the his first four innings pitched and would eventually rack up seven
K’s in a marvelous three-hit performance through 6.1 innings.
Stoner, like most of the Cyclones pitching
staff, has provided the Keyspan Park
crowd with flashes of brilliance this year, coupled with unbridled poise and desire on the mound. Giving up five runs in six
innings in his last start against Jamestown, Stoner was eager to come out firing
on all cylinders tonight.
“He was on,” said Cyclones
catcher Jason Jacobs. “He really knew what he wanted to throw and when he wanted to throw it. He was lights out.”
Continuing the recent trend of providing
their young pitching staff with the runs they needed to win, the Mets Single-A affiliate from Brooklyn
pounced on Scrappers starting pitcher William Delage in the fourth, getting three runs on RBI doubles by Jeremy Hambrice and
Jonathan Sanchez. Even Mark Wright, who was hitting .118 before tonight’s game would get involved in the offense, adding
an RBI before the innings end, stretching the lead to 4-0.
The sudden barrage of hits was definitely
of the Jekyll and Hyde variety. After pitching three innings of no-hit-ball to start the game, Deluge all of a sudden lost
whatever magic he had and the Cyclones had his number. By the fifth, he was riding the pine in favor of reliever Derrick Loop.
“Right now we’re a team that
needs timely hitting and that’s what we got tonight,” said Cyclones second baseman Jon Schemmel.
While the bats would calm down for Brooklyn
after the four-run outburst in the fourth, Stoner continued to dominate, retiring 15 Scrappers in a row before a harmless
Jason Denham bloop single in the sixth. However, after giving up a one-out double to Dustin Realini in the seventh, Greer
brought in the southpaw strikeout artist Grady Hinchman.
Hinchman unfortunately wouldn’t be
able to duplicate Stoner’s dominant performance, but would throw a scoreless inning despite giving up a hit and a walk,
leaving the bases loaded before ending the inning.
After Brooklyn had
their turn at bat in the bottom of the seventh, the rain that was expected all day finally came, resulting in ironically,
baseball-sized pellets soaking everything in its path. A rain delay would soon ensue and claim tonight’s game as its
victim, resulting in a 4-0 Cyclones win after only seven innings of play.
By the time the game was called, there
wasn’t a player on Brooklyn that wasn’t either soaked or exhausted. However after the game,
Hinchman, who has made a habit of getting himself out of trouble on the mound this season, put the team’s first series
sweep at home this season into perspective in a way that made everyone forget how miserable the weather was.
“A win is a win,” said Hinchman.
“Even if it’s in seven innings.”