Costly Errors Cost Cyclones in 5-1 Loss
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Monday, June 25, 2007

BROOKLYN, NY - Before errors and an inability to get runners on base would ruin their chances at victory, it looked like the Cyclones were going to get stuck in an old school pitcher’s duel, on 1957 night of all nights, thanks in part to solid performances from both starting pitchers.

However, that was until the ‘Clones committed three errors in between the fifth and seventh innings, giving Hudson Valley all the offense they would need, ultimately sealing Brooklyn’s fate in an ugly 5-1 loss.

“Things like this happen, this game should have been 2-1 in the ninth, but we gave away three runs,” said Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo. “I had a meeting with the guys after the game and told them that they had a good week [4-2] and to make sure that they come to park well rested tomorrow so we can come out and play hard. This is nothing to worry about.”

Looking for his first win of the season after throwing five scoreless innings in his Cyclones debut on June 19, Cyclones starter Joseph Leaper would continue right where he left off, keeping the Renegades scoreless through 4 1/3 before a Raul Reyes error in centerfield would allow a Hudson Valley Run to score and give the Tampa Bay Devil Rays single-A affiliate a 1-0 lead.

Things then began to open up offensively for the Renegades, as a James Mayer double would bring another run home, stretching the Hudson Valley lead to 2-0. Things could have been much worse however, but thanks to an amazing outfield assist from ‘Clones right fielder Ender Chavez that stopped another run from scoring, the game was still 2-0.

“I was leaving the ball up a little too much and they got some hits off of me when they needed to,” said Leaper, who ended up throwing 5 1/3 innings and gave up three earned runs. “I was trying to mix up my changeup and fastball with some breaking pitches and I got mixed results tonight.”

Unlike the come from behind heroics the Cyclones exhibited last night, the Brooklyn offense proved no match for Renegades starter Alex Cobb, who would keep the Mets single-A affiliate scoreless until the fifth, when Matt Bouchard would send Will Vogl home after he singled and stole a base earlier in the inning, cutting the Hudson Valley lead to 2-1.

“He had very good stuff, his breaking ball was really working,” Alfonzo said of Cobb. “He was really good.”

Leaper would continue to pitch into the sixth for Brooklyn, but couldn’t get himself out of trouble, giving up a lead-off triple off the bat of Shawn O’Malley before getting Angel Fermin to ground out. With O’Malley still on third, Alfonzo would then come out to the mound and the game would have its first pitching change, with fire-balling left-handed reliever Grady Hinchman coming into the game.

Hinchman would then give up a sacrifice fly to Stephen Vogt, effectively giving the Renegades their two-run lead back, before walking Mike McCormick and Henry Wrigley, before he too was sent to the pine in favor of Edgar Ramirez. Luckily for the ‘Clones, Ramirez would get them out of the inning, needing only four pitches to get Epi De Leon to fly out to shallow left field.

Despite the clutch pitching from Ramirez that kept the score at 3-1, the Brooklyn offensive attack continued to be stifled by Cobb in the sixth. To make matters worse for Brooklyn, a lead-off double by the Renegades and throwing errors by Micah Schilling and JR Voyles would help another run cross the plate, giving Hudson Valley a 4-1 lead with only one-out and two runners in scoring position. After Ramirez would walk the next hitter, the bases would then be loaded by Vogt, who would then hit a sac-fly that stretched the deficit to 5-1 after seven innings of play.

A combination of Josh Johnson, Aneudi Cuevas and Bladimir Florentino would then keep the ‘Clones scoreless through the rest of the game, as the Renegades staff limited the Mets single-A affiliate to only five hits. While Ramirez and Josh Appell, who came in to pitch the ninth, would keep the score at 5-1, Brooklyn just couldn’t put it together offensively, as they were sent down in order in the ninth and managed only one hit after Cobb left the game in the sixth.

Suffering their first loss at Keyspan Park this season, the Cyclones, who have made five errors in the past two games, understand that they have to step up their play defensively if they want to continue to keep pace with the top teams in the McNamara division.

“I’m not worried,” said Alfonzo. “Tomorrow we’re going to be ok.”

Notes

Cyclones third baseman Zach Lutz was put on the disabled list today and according to Alfonzo, will stay there for at least a month.

“He’s a great player and can do many things for us,” he said. “But he’s going to be out for a while.”

Lutz’s replacement, JR Voyles, had a five-game hitting streak snapped tonight, going 0 for 3 with a walk.