Crosscutters Slash Brooklyn’s Championship Dreams
Brooklyn born Anthony Bocchino stepped to the plate for the Williamsport Crosscutters in the 11th inning of the second game of the Williamsport-Brooklyn Cyclones New York Penn League Championship on September 10. With father Leo and 50-75 of his family and friends watching, Bocchino bunted for a base hit off losing pitcher Bryan King.
It was only fitting that the Brooklyn born player decided the game with the winning run in Williamsport’s 4-3 win over Brooklyn to win the New York Penn League Championship. Bocchino’s bunted base hit led to Milver Reyes’ 2 out RBI single and third hit of the game off King (0-1) to plate Williamsport to their first Penn League championship.
This is Bocchino’s second championship as he won with Xaverian High School in the CHSSA championship in 1997. Anthony Bocchino’s father, Leo, works as a security guard at Keyspan Park. Anthony felt proud that his parents, fiancée and his supporters helped him win a championship. "It’s an awesome feeling to win a championship at home. To win it at home, it’s amazing. The team was into it and the crowd is into it", said Bocchino.
"I like to play here. I wasn’t swinging the bat well this series. I was just trying to do anything to help my team win with the bunt to the pitcher. The guys stepped up for us."
It was another close game for the Cyclones and the same mistakes occurred throughout the season and in the game that cost a possible championship. Baserunning blunders ruined the Cyclones chance to score more runs with the lead in the first and in the 8th inning.
In those two particular innings, the baserunning goofs involved third baseman Aaron Baldiris. The turning point of the game involved a delayed steal in the 8th inning with Baldiris on second and Tyler Davidson on first. As Baldiris pulled into third, Davidson was caught in a rundown between first and second. Baldiris was caught trying to score from third base.
First year manager Tim Teufel was downbeat as the rest of the players but saw many optimistic things for the players to take in to account and learn from.
"It doesn’t feel so good right now. You never get used to defeat. I would wonder if anyone would get to use to being on the losing end," said Teufel.
"These young kids have a chance to build up from last year and go and build up for next year and get better. I tell these kids that their final resting place is not Brooklyn. Make this place just a tour stop and get the heck out of here and move up the scale", Teufel said.
Pitcher Evan Maclane gave the Cyclones another quality start as he pitched five innings while giving up only a run. Pitcher Robert Paulk, the Rolaids award winning closer for the team, came in the 7th inning and pitched four outstanding innings. Paulk has not pitched four innings since last year at Kingsport.
"It was heroic. We kept his pitch count low", Teufel said. "Paulk said it was the end of the year and I’m going back out. He had more in his gas tank and he gave it all he had".
Heartbreak was the operative word for the Cyclones as 1B Ian Bladergroen broke his thumb in three places in a collision with Milver Reyes in the third inning. Bladergroen played in every game this year and left Coney Island Hospital in the 7th inning to return to his teammates.
"It’s definitely frustrating because I dead sprinted from the parking lot after I listened to the game in the hospital. I wanted to bring a ring home", said Bladergroen.
"We had a great season. Just to make it to the championship series and get to play here was a lot of fun. The whole season has been amazing and I have a lot of memories with these guys," said Bladergroen We’re real disappointed right now but we will look back in a few days and know that we made it this far."
Teufel spoke of his improvement as a manager throughout the year after an apprenticeship as a minor league hitting instructor the past few years. Dealing with issues such as the lack of hitting and pitching that felt apart near the end of the year, Teufel was the glue that kept the Cyclones afloat to win the McNamara Division.
"I started out pretty raw managing in the instructional league. I learned from the different parts of the game such and hitting, baserunning. It’s just not on the game managing, it’s off the field managing as well," said Teufel.
"I loved it here. It was a great summer. It fit the excitement of managing in Brooklyn and being near Shea," said Teufel. "I fed off the New York fans. The fans helped me with my intensity and helped me grow a lot faster than I would if I was managing somewhere else."
Danny Garcia threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the start of Game 2. Garcia is the first Cyclones player to appear in the Major Leagues with the Mets. Playing in a day game earlier against the Marlins, Garcia had two hits in the game, which included a double and his first home run.
OF Matt Watson is now the second Cyclones player to play in the major leagues. At 5’11, 200 pounds, Watson completed a rehab stint with the Cyclones and started Game 2 in RF. Watson will join the New York Mets.