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Aces Over Brooklyn

Despite Inconsistency, Cyclones Head Into Playoffs


By Patrick Hickey Jr

Trading two disastrous losing streaks at pivotal points in the season for a franchise record 12-game winning streak that played a huge part in the team making the playoffs, no one will ever doubt the validity behind naming the team the Cyclones after the conclusion of this year’s NY-Penn League regular season.


Simply put, this has definitely been a roller coaster year for the Mets Single-A Affiliate.


“These kids have a lot of heart,” said Cyclones manager George Greer. “I’m very proud of the way they came back from the beginning of the year. It does an old heart good to see all these youngsters perform well.”


Powered by the late season call ups of Emmanuel Garcia and Jesus Gamero [and the subsequent promotion of the .195 hitting Jon Sanchez to Hagerstown], the Cyclones managed to win seven of their last 10 games and clinched a playoff birth after a 4-3 extra inning win over the Vermont Lake Monsters on the last game of the season.


“I came here to try and help this team make the playoffs,” said Gamero, who’s hitting .314 with 10 RBI’s in his last ten games. “It feels great to help this team.”


With Gamero and Garcia becoming offensive catalysts for Brooklyn late in the season, the Cyclones finally had enough talented bats in the lineup to help Dustin Martin [.315, 32 RBI’s] and Luis Rivera [.272, seven stolen bases] protect the solid pitching they’ve been getting all season.


First baseman D.J. Wabick, who was called up from Kingsport in mid August, has also helped the Cyclones with his bat and his glove, being dubbed “Mini-Mattingly” in his short time at Keyspan Park due to the uncanny resemblance his batting stance and fielding prowess bears to the former Yankee glove-glover. Giving the team a steady and reliable presence at first base that they lacked all season, with the platoon of Jeremy Hambrice and Tim Grogan, Brooklyn’s lineup is definitely better with Wabick in it.


“Nobody else has a Wabick on their team and we’re happy we do,” said Greer. “He’s a good hitter and you know when he’s in the lineup he’s going to hit.”


While the recent amount of clutch offensive performances will forever be enshrined in fans hearts, the pitching staff has really been the glue that has kept the team together this year, with Eric Brown [7-1, 1.16 ERA], Tobi Stoner [6-2, 62 K’s] and Todd Privett [2.18 ERA in eight starts] keeping the Cyclones in every game they pitched down the stretch, playing a huge part in helping make the team’s playoff dreams a reality. Jeremy Mizell and Grady Hinchman also became valued commodities out of the bullpen for Brooklyn, keeping the late playoff push alive with several outstanding late inning performances.


If the Cyclones can continue to get great pitching and clutch hitting, there is a big chance they may be able to overtake the Staten Island Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Now playing with their backs against the wall against the potent Yankee offense that includes the likes of Kyle Larsen, Mitch Hilligoss and Wilmer Pino, the Mets Single-A Affiliate will have to fire on all cylinders to take the best-of-three series from the defending McNamara division champions.


Cyclones outfielder Dustin Martin understands this better than anyone on the team, but feels the tide has turned and the momentum the team currently has going into the playoffs will carry them to victory against their division rivals.


“We’re the wild-card champions” said Martin. “If we keep rolling, we could win this whole thing.”

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