Parnell Rises To All Star Pitcher
The New York Penn League All-Star Game at Keyspan Park last Tuesday showcased the brightest and best players of the 2005 season. The Cyclones displayed their talents as the National League held on to a 5-4 victory over the American League in front of a sellout crowd of 9,054 last night.
Brooklyn pitcher Bobby Parnell was one of three all stars selected with outfielder Joe Holden and infielder Josh Petersen.
Parnell was named the starter for the National League and impressed in his two innings of work. Bouncing back from a tough loss against the Aberdeen Ironbirds last Saturday, he had his fastball working by striking out four and allowing only one run.
That run was the result of the Cyclones’ cross-town nemesis, the Staten Island Yankees and the bat of first baseman Kyle Larsen. In the second inning, a 0-2 fastball delivery from Parnell was smashed over the head of Brooklyn centerfielder Joe Holden for an RBI triple to give the American a 1-0 lead.
“A lot of nerves were running in the first two innings and I was all over the place,” Parnell said. “I feel the batters were a little nervous too so they swinged at a few bad pitches.”
“I’m on two days rest so it’s more of a bullpen than a start. I didn’t try to blow anybody or make something happen. I just worked on some stuff and it was two innings of work.”
Parnell has been the surprise of the group, impressing others since he’s come a long way from playing very little at the University of Charleston Southern in South Carolina.
He didn’t expect to be drafted in the ninth round by the Mets this season, especially since the righthander didn’t pitch much during his college career.
With no cemented status in the starting rotation or bullpen, Parnell made the best of his situation whenever he would pitch. The results weren’t outstanding as he posted a 3-5 record and an 8.86 ERA. He started six games but came in relief for 15 others but scouts, espcially the Mets, saw enough potential to draft him.
“Based on the numbers in college, I was surprised to be picked that high. They were several teams who were interested but none showed enough that I thought be drafted that soon,” Parnell said.
“I didn’t have a role in college and I never had a chance to get a groove going.”
With the Mets, he was named a starter and has found the groove. Due to an inconsistent offense, Parnell is only 2-2 but has kept the Cyclones in ballgames with a 1.76 ERA, struckout 53 batters and opponents are only hitting a measly .184 against him.
Parnell has four pitches now and will continue to be thrown out in the mound for every start, which finally satisfies him.
“I feel more comfortable throwing every five days. They looked at my potential and see a high ceiling,” says Parnell.
All Star News and Notes
Joe Holden had an up and down night in front of numerous friends and family who came from Wantagh to see him.
Holden has hit .316 in the leadoff spot and only made one error while playing a sparkling centerfield.
It started well by making a nice over the shoulder running catch in deep left-centerfield in the first inning off the bat of leadoff hitter Will Rhymes.
At bat, Holden went for 1-3 with a single in the 8th but made a misjudgment running the bases on a flyball and was doubled off first base.
Cyclones third baseman Josh Petersen, who could not play due to a lower back strain, caught the ceremonial first pitch.
A promising hitter, Petersen has been slowed down at the plate with a back injury that will most likely sideline him for the rest of the year.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Omar Minaya were part of the numerous New York Mets dignitaries that appeared at Keyspan Park. Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, Mets Vice President Jim Duquette and Minor League Farm Director Gary Lacroque were also in attendance.
It’s a tough stretch for the Cyclones, as they trail two teams for the wild card spot and have 14 games left to not be shutout of the playoffs.
They won’t catch Staten Island, who has runaway from all opponents by leading the New York Penn League in wins and Brooklyn by nine games in the McNamara Division.
At 32-28, Brooklyn’s offense is ranked 11 out of 14 teams with a batting average of .243. It has not helped a pitching staff that is third in the league in ERA.
With a number of injuries to key players such as Petersen, Manager Mookie Wilson has not given up hope entirely. The one bright spot have been their ability to bounce back from deficits in ball games.
After a 9-6 win last Sunday against Aberdeen, in which in the Cyclones were down twice in the game, manager Mookie Wilson just had to smile about their good fortune.
“The kids look like crap one night but the next night they play like the Yankees,” Wilson joked after the game. “But that’s what the kids have done. They’ve been able to bounce back from bad games. I’ll say it again. That’s the one thing that impresses me about them.”