By Jim Dolan
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
With the first round of the New York Penn League Divisional playoff tied at one game apiece, the Brooklyn Cyclones licked their wounds overnight from an 8-1 routing on Sunday to come back to play the Renegades in Dutchess Stadium for second night in a row on Monday evening.
Despite a good outing by RHP Luis Cessa (2 runs, 4 hits over 6 innings), the Renegades only needed a single; triple and a passed ball in the first inning for the 2-0 win to eliminate the Cyclones and to advance to play the Tri-City Valley Cats for the Penn League championship.
Like the Renegades, the Cyclones had chances to get on the board as Brandon Nimmo and Stefan Sabol both hit “foul home runs” in the first inning, while the rest of the Cyclones just produced “warning track power” for long fly outs throughout the rest of the game. Brooklyn’s only bright spot in the game was Phil Evans’ third inning “birthday single” that saw the second year shortstop say hello to 20 and goodbye to his teenage years.
“My hat’s off to Hudson Valley; they out-hit and out-pitched us”, said Cyclone Manager Rich Donnelly after his team’s elimination. As for as the Cyclones, Donnelly stated, “We’ve seen this movie before. We’ve pitched well and played defense, but we had trouble scoring.”
Indeed pitching was the bright spot of Brooklyn’s game this season as fans witnessed a gem to open the first game of the playoff series against the Renegades on Friday night at MCU Park. After coming off a near perfect 8 inning game two weeks before against Vermont, RHP Hansel Robles pitched a complete game shutout that featured 10 strikeouts, no walks and just 4 hits for the 4-0 win over Hudson Valley.
As soon as Robles completed his win over Hudson Valley, he was named the Cyclones’ Sterling Award winner for this Mets’ Penn League affiliate and was awarded the MVP trophy the next day a Citi Field. Robles, a 22 year old from the Dominican Republic, finished the regular season with a 6-1 record with the league’s lowest 1.11 ERA and lowest 0.78 WHIP, and was fifth in the league with 66 strikeouts. “I didn’t see it coming," admitted Cyclone skipper, Donnelly.
“Back on March 4th in spring training we were wondering where he would fit in on this team and now look at him. He’s more composed and doesn’t let little things bother him. In fact he pitched 44 scoreless innings for us this year.”
Summing up the season Rich Donnelly stated, “I’m proud of our guys, we had one of the youngest teams in the league to make the playoffs. At times we put out a lineup that had four of five guys still in their teens. We were the top team in pitching along with good defense, but our offense fell short this season. They were all freshman, but now they’ve been baptized so they’re sophomores now. It going to be fun to watch them progress in their careers.”