2012-07-20 / Sports

Nimmo, First Place Cyclones Continue to Shine

By Elio Velez


Brandon Nimmo swings the ball at MCU Park. Photo by William Thomas. Brandon Nimmo swings the ball at MCU Park. Photo by William Thomas. Brooklyn Cyclones manager Rich Donnelly has been involved in professional baseball for more than 40 years.

The second-year skipper has done another good job handling the Cyclones this season. They have remained in first place in the New York Penn League’s McNamara Division with a pitching staff that is third in ERA, yet third to last in team hitting.

One of the struggles has come from the team offense, which ranks 12th out of 14 teams in batting average and are last in the NYPL with runners in scoring position.

Donnelly isn’t about to panic just yet. He is beginning to get some results from players who had their struggles early n the campaign.

The one piece he advice he gave to 2011 first round Mets pick Brandon Nimmo was to get aggressive. Nimmo was struggling once the season began on June 18 and was hitting .190 after three weeks and looking lost at the plate.

The 6-foot-3, 19-year old centerfielder has been a different hitter at the plate after Donnelly gave him advice to look for his chance to hit the ball early in the count. Nimmo was impressive in a recent three game sweep at State College last week and has improved to a batting average of .250, while leading the team with 19 RBI and 22 walks.

“The difference is he’s swinging the bat and you see now he swinging early and hitting the ball hard. The other night (State College), he hit the ball in the three games, he hit the ball the hardest I’ve seen from extended-March 3 until now,” Donnelly said after Brooklyn lost to Hudson Valley last Tuesday night.

“He hit rockets to left to right and that breeds confidence. He’s seeing he can do this. I don’t care how old he is. He’s seeing he can do and that he belongs here.”

Outfielder Stefan Sabol has been a solid hitter with a .281 average and with first baseman Cole Frenzel promoted to Savannah, former Florida State University player Jayce Boyd will get plenty a bats. The pitching staff has been impressive with Rainy Lara and Luis Mateo each earning 4 wins as starters, with Tyler Vanderheiden earning five saves.

Brooklyn will host Staten Island on Sunday, and two games against Aberdeen. The Cyclones will then go on a six-game road trip to Batavia and Mahoning Valley. Donnelly thinks his team will continue to be in a dogfight in the standings throughout the rest of the summer.

“We went to State College and pitched very well, we hit very well, and played defense very well. It’s game to game. This league here is pretty balanced. I don’t think anybody is going to run from anybody,” Donnelly said.

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