BROOKLYN, NY- After winning seven of their
last ten games to make the playoffs on the last day of the season, the Cyclones would lose the first game of the best of three
divisional series 5-2 against Staten Island despite a solid pitching performance from Tobi Stoner, with three Yankees runs
in the game’s final three innings proving to be too much for the Mets Single-A Affiliate to come back from.
Starting this must-win game for the ‘Clones
was Tobi Stoner, looking to continue his scoreless inning streak, which was at 13 innings before tonight’s start.
“I felt really strong before today’s
game,” said Stoner. “These games are what I live for; this is why I play baseball. I want to be the guy out there
when the pressure is on. My hands were shaking before the game, but I wasn’t nervous, just anxious and confident.”
“I thought he had good stuff,”
said Cyclones manager George Greer. “He certainly held them at bay.”
Jesus Gamero would get the Cyclones on
the board in the first, hitting an RBI single off Yankees starter George Kontos that would score Emmanuel Garcia, giving Brooklyn
an early 1-0 lead. Kontos’s struggles continued into the second inning, giving up singles to Jon Schemmel and Danny
Cummins to start the inning before a Joe Holden sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position with only one out. Kontos
would keep the Mets Single-A scoreless however, retiring both Garcia and Luis Rivera, keeping the game at 1-0.
With the Cyclones gaining the early lead,
Stoner was again on top of his game, twirling five shutout innings before giving up a two-run homer off the bat of Wilmer
Pino that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Brooklyn,
however would answer right back, getting an RBI double from D.J. “Mini-Mattingly” Wabick that brought home Gamero,
tying the score at 2-2.
“We were just trying to stay focused,”
said Gamero. “Today, we had too many chances with runners on base and in scoring position and we didn’t do our
Grady Hinchman would then come out of the
Cyclones bullpen in the sixth after Stoner threw 5.2 innings and wouldn’t be able to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard,
giving up a Wilmer Pino RBI double that gave Staten Island a 3-2 lead.
“I thought I pitched well today,”
said Stoner. “But that’s baseball, that’s how baseball goes.”
Justin Keadle replaced Kontos in the seventh
and was replaced by Mike Dunn after giving up a two-out single to Luis Rivera and would walk Dustin Martin. With the tying
run in scoring position and the go-ahead run at first, Dunn would also walk Dan Murphy, forcing Yankees manager Gaylen Pitts
to use his fourth pitcher in two innings, bringing in closer Nick Peterson to face Gamero with the bases loaded.
Unable to hit the hard-throwing Peterson,
Gamero would ground out, failing to capitalize with two runners in scoring position, keeping the Yankees lead at 3-2. The
Yankees would also add an insurance run in the eighth off of Hinchman as mini-met killer Kyle Larsen stroked a ball over the
right field wall, giving Staten Island a two-run lead. Shockingly, both Pino and Larsen were urged by the fans, obviously
from Staten Island, to give curtain calls after their home runs and even more shockingly, they obliged.
Jeremy Mizell replaced Hinchman in the
eighth with one out after he gave up a double to Colin Curtis and would stop the bleeding momentarily, keeping the score at
The game would be far from over however,
as the Cyclones would have runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the eighth, courtesy of a Wabick single and
two errors that allowed Schemmel to reach first and Wabick to move to third.
wouldn’t be able to get the offense going as pinch hitter Ivan Naccarata, Joe Holden and Garcia were all retired, forcing
the Mets Single-A Affiliate to come from behind for the fourth time in five games to win their first playoff game since 2004
It seemed that the deck would continue
to be stacked against the ‘Clones offense going into the bottom of the ninth, as Mizell would get himself into a bases-loaded
jam and would give up a run on a Larsen fielder’s choice, giving Staten Island a three-run lead with only three outs
Brooklyn wouldn’t be able to induce
the walk off magic that got them into the playoffs tonight, as Mark Melancon would then come out of the Yankee bullpen and
keep the Cyclones scoreless, giving Staten Island a 5-2 win.
Now down 0-1 in the best of three game
series, the Cyclones will need to get going offensively and in a hurry if they want to continue their season.
“The offense has always been a concern
because we haven’t been getting timely hits,” said Greer. “When we get men on base, we have to hit and it’ll
have to be tomorrow.”