Kawal Leads ‘Clones Past Renegades 7-1
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Friday, August 17, 2007

BROOKLYN, NY - The Brooklyn Cyclones may have had three days off for the All-Star break, but they showed no signs of rust or incompetence tonight, swiftly and confidently defeating the Hudson Valley Renegades 7-1, thanks in part to a three-RBI night from Brandon Kawal.

“I’ve been working on taking the ball the other way a lot more lately, even before the All-Star break,” said Kawal. “Tonight, I had a few opportunities to take the ball deep and go the other way and I took advantage of them.”

Despite getting another solid offensive performance tonight however, the team’s defense was even better, as Matt Bouchard, Lucas Duda and Reyes all robbed Renegades hitters of potential game-changing hits and made it that much easier for the ‘Clones to come out victorious.

“This was my favorite game of the season to watch and coach,” said Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo. “They played great defense, swung the bat well and we got great pitching. I’m really proud of them right now.”

Having not lost a start since June 30 against the Renegades, Brooklyn starter Nick Waechter has been phenomenal of late, winning three of his last six starts and lowering his ERA to 3.80. Wasting no time today, Waechter gave up only three hits and one run in six innings pitched, continuing to prove that his early season struggles were a mirage.

“My tempo on the mound is key and when I work fast, I give the opposition less time to think,” said Waechter. “Lately, I’ve been working much quicker and I’ve been getting results.”

However, the Mets Single-A affiliate was forced to deal with Argentinean knuckleballer Diego Echeverria, who would keep them scoreless through the first three innings, until a Duda RBI single would bring home Jason Jacobs, who lead off the inning with a double, giving Brooklyn a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Brandon Kawal would add a sacrifice fly that would put the ‘Clones up 2-0.

“They were very patient at the plate today,” said Alfonzo. “They made a few adjustments and didn’t swing at many bad pitches. I’m happy with what I saw today.”

Getting back in the game in the top of the fifth, the Renegades answered back with a solo homer from Stephen Vogt to make it a one run game. It wouldn’t be enough however, as the Cyclones would nail Echeverria for four earned runs in the fifth, after a J.R. Voyles sacrifice fly and RBI hits by Raul Reyes and Kawal would put them ahead 6-1.

“It feels great to come out and show everyone I can play a well-rounded game,” said Kawal. “I feel really confident now that I can help this team win.”

Jacobs would then add another double to his resume in the sixth that would score Micah Schilling and stretch the ‘Clones lead to 7-1. With Dan McDonald replacing Waechter in the seventh and hurling two scoreless frames, Alfonzo would then bring in closer Stephen Clyne, who would keep the Renegades scoreless in the ninth, helping Brooklyn coast to a 7-1 win.

Winning their 36th game of the season and their 18th at home, the Cyclones have continued to win this year despite injuries to the pitching staff and infield, proving they are the best team in the league from top to bottom and haven’t shown any signs of letting up yet.

“The second half of the season is going to be fun,” said Waechter. “The All-Star break gave us a chance to get some rest and see our families and now we’re ready to start winning again.”