2004-09-17 / Sports

Cyclones’ Season Ends With Playoff Loss

By Elio Velez


The Brooklyn Cyclones waited through two rainstorms and two postponements in Troy, N.Y. to get eliminated from the Penn League playoffs in a 6-1 loss to the Tri-City ValleyCats last Friday night.

When the skies cleared and the game was played, Valleycats’ pitcher Ronnie Martinez was the reason the Cyclones season ended. Evoking comparisons of Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, Ronnie Martinez dominated with an eight inning, 10-strikeout performance as he came back on three days rest for the win.

“We ran out of luck the third time”, manager Tony Tijerina said. Brooklyn defeated Martinez twice this year.

“They saw it as must-win ballgame and they threw their best guy. I was simply amazed he threw eight innings after three days of rest. Hats off to him. He used all of his pitches and he got us out of balance”.

Tijerina sent Joe Williams, who had not pitched since September 2 in Hudson Valley, to the mound. Williams was not sharp enough to hold off Tri-City as Mitch Einertson two run homer and Lou Santangelo’s solo shot in the third inning proved to be the difference in the game

“Joe faced some new hitters this time around. He left the changeup to Einertson and he jumped on it. It took the wind out of sails,” Tijerina said.

The Cyclones had one chance to get back into the ballgame in the 5th inning. Grant Psomas grounded into a double play on the first pitch with two runners on base to plate a run to make it 3-1. The Cyclones could not get any closer and Tijerina noted that his team lost their best opportunity to touch up Martinez.

“We had a chance to score a run or two and that’s how you start a rally. Grant did not swing at a good pitch and he hit a routine double play,” Tijerina said. “We got a run but it did kill a potentially big inning.”

The season ended on a bitter note after winning five of their last six regular season ballgames to win the McNamara Division. After winning Game 1 at home against Tri-City, Brooklyn could not hold a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning and lost in Game 2 by the score of 3-2.

With the Cyclones leading 3-1 after three innings on September 9, the game was erased after torrential rainfall fell through the capital region.

“It was more frustration after playing on Thursday and being rained out,” says Tijerina. “At that point I was hoping for 5 innings and getting out here with a win. We may have carried that over and trying too hard to get a win tonight.”

There were many bright spots for the Cyclones this season. The hitting may have been the best the Cyclones have had in their four years of existence. Outfielders Ambiorix Concepcion and Dante Brinkley pulled off MVP type seasons. Along with consistent hitting from first baseman Tyler Davidson, a late season hitting surge from Derran Watts gave the Cyclones a needed push to win the division.

Catcher Aaron Hathaway’s outstanding play defensively justified his selection by the Mets as the 2004 fourth round as he threw out a staggering 58% of baserunners that attempted to steal. Evan MacLane, Michael Devaney and Mike Swindell were a tough starting pitching trio. The bullpen led by Edgar Alfonzo and Celso Rondon carried the pitching staff through the first part of the season.

Tony Tijerina knows that his team accomplished many things this year in the quest to become major leaguers.

“We spent 75 games together through ups and downs. This team is feeling the pain of loss and defeat and that’s normal. I’ve asked everything that they needed to do all year to be focused and be prepared and not take everything for granted.

I call this team a family.

I let them know how proud I am this year. 4 teams make the playoffs and we were one of them. We got hot at the end of the year and wont he division. I’m proud of the guys and how hard they fought this year,” Tijerina said.

Notes

In the Penn League Championship series, wild card winner Mahoning Valley swept Tri City in a best of three series.

Most of the players will reunite once again for a two-week fall instructional training program in Port St. Lucie starting on Monday.

After the completion of the program, some players will go home and others will play winter ball overseas.

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