2006-07-21 / Sports

Cyclones Hot Streak Turns Season Around

By Elio Velez

Brooklyn Cyclones outfielder Dustin Martin emulates an umpire safe sign call as he reached safely on the double ahead of the tag of Oneonta Tigers second baseman Angel Reyes. Photo By Borriello Photography.Brooklyn Cyclones outfielder Dustin Martin emulates an umpire safe sign call as he reached safely on the double ahead of the tag of Oneonta Tigers second baseman Angel Reyes. Photo By Borriello Photography. New York City has been cauight in the throes of an oppressive heatwave the past few weeks but the Brooklyn Cyclones have also been scorching on the diamond as well.

A week and half ago, the Brooklyn Cyclones was 6-13 and reserved a place in the basement of the New York Penn League's McNamara Division standings. It was not the best of times to paraphrase Charles Dickens but Brooklyn erased their early season woes and started to turnaround their fortunes.

It began with a 5-4 win at Keyspan Park on July 10 against State College to salvage the last of a three game series. They went on the road and kept on winning, sweeping series against Williamsport and Vermont to even their record at 13-13 before they returned home last Tuesday.

But the Cyclones return to .500 wouldn't last more than one day. In their 4-2 loss to Oneonta, Mother Nature would become the focus on what was a strange night at the ballpark for the 7,147 fans that attended.

The game started smoothly as both teams came up with little on offense as Cyclones pitcher Jorge Reyes and Tigers' starter Zach Piccola hurled zeroes for four innings.

In the top of the fifth, Oneonta had their first threat of the ballgame, placing two runners on base when the almost 100 degree weather earlier in the day played havoc with the stadium's electricity.

The lights flickered before turning off and coming back on all in a matter of seconds. It resulted in a 31 minute delay as the lights had to be powered back on. Once Reyes came back to the mound, he gave up a bases loaded walk to Penn League hits leader Scott Sizemore, resulting in an Oneonta 1-0 lead.

The Cyclones would even the score in the bottom of the sixth but the Tigers got back on top to take a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Mother Nature would then grab the attention of the fans in the ballpark, eliciting oohs and ahhs from the crowd with an lightning and thunder festival which pierced the night sky for almost a half hour.

Debris flew on to the field from the stands and the gale force winds pushed the centerfield doors wide open to the right of the 412 foot sign. As the top of the ninth got underway, the threatening weather finally resulted in thunderstorms which delayed the game for an hour and 15 minutes. At 11:40 p.m. the game resumed but Oneonta would win the game 4-2 as midnight approached, ending an almost five hour marathon.

The Cyclones offense would be missing again the following day in a 6-0 loss that put their record at 13-15 as of presstime. Now under .500, the remnants of their seven game win streak remains, especially in the standings as the Cyclones are only four games back of first place Aberdeen.

Dustin Martin, the most consistent hitter on the club with a .278 average, drove in Jon Malo and Jeremy Hambrice to cap a 6-4 come from behind win over Vermont on July 17.

The breakout star so far is in the bullpen as closer Joseph Smith has been lights out the season. The third round pick in the 2006 draft from Wright State University has not allowed a run in one month, pitching to a .69 ERA, striking out 17 batters in 13 innings and seven saves, which was second in the NYPL.

They'll travel to Jamestown this weekend before returning home Tuesday night for a three game series against Mahoning Valley. Usually a dominant team at home, the Cyclones have gotten off to a slow start in their friendly confines with a 5-9 record. The July 27th game will be broadcast on SportsNet New York at 7 p.m.

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