Brooklyn Bats and Bullpen Wash Away Staten Island
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Friday, June 22, 2007

BROOKLYN, NY - Splitting the first two games of the season with the Staten Island Yankees, the Cyclones started off hot at the plate with revenge on their minds, but would have to wait much longer than they expected to reap the fruits of their labor, enduring two lengthy rain delays before eventually putting their cross-town rivals to bed 6-1.

“We started out very aggressive, we were swinging the bats well,” said Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo. “After the rain delay, it was almost like a different game, but we got good pitching in the end. Everyone’s doing a really good job right now.”

Getting the start today for the Mets single-A affiliate was Todd Privett, who went 1-2 with a sparkling 2.11 ERA for Brooklyn last season. However, despite his dominance with the ‘Clones in 2006, Privett has gone 0-4 with a 7.83 ERA in 11 appearances this year with the Mets other Single-A affiliate in Savannah, prompting the organization to bring the young lefthander back to Brooklyn to rediscover his winning ways.

Luckily for Privett however, the Cyclones, who managed only one hit through the first five innings of their home opener on Tuesday, got on the board early, thanks to a one-out, bases loaded single by Raul Reyes that scored both Ender Chavez and Jeff Voyles, giving Brooklyn a 2-0 lead in the first.

The boys from Brooklyn continued to produce offensively in the third, as an Ender Chavez broken bat ground out brought home Lucas Duda, who doubled to start the inning, giving Brooklyn a 3-0 lead. Yankees starter Zachary McAllister continued to struggle in the inning, failing to keep his fastball down and away from the aggressive swinging Cyclones and he gave up another two runs, this time on a Voyles RBI single and an error by Staten Island third baseman Tim O’Brien that allowed Voyles to score and give the ‘Clones a 5-0 lead.

On the other side of the diamond, Todd Privett wasn’t perfect, but he got the job done. Pounding the strike zone with a variety of off-speed pitches, while forcing the Yankees to hit his fastball in the lower part of the zone, Privett got a hearty helping of ground balls and relied on solid defense from his infield, limiting Staten Island to three hits in three innings before a minute rain delay would cause a break in the action.

“He was really good, he was dealing” said Alfonzo. “He didn’t want to come out of the game. He’s a really competitive kid, you could see that he really wanted to go out there, I like that, but the break was so long that we couldn’t have him come back.”

When the game resumed again, after a rain delay of 1:53, the sold-out crowd was reduced to about 200 diehards, who stuck around after the horrible weather has subsided. To make matters worse, Keyspan Park looked more like Lambeau field in November than a minor league baseball stadium and only after some hard work by the grounds crew was the game back underway.

Pitching for the Cyclones when the game resumed was Dylan Owen, the Goose Gossage [circa. 1972] look-alike, making his professional debut and just like the former Yankee closer, Owen was extremely dominant, getting Staten Island in order and showing the explosive slider and 93 mph fastball that made him the Division II player of the year in his last season at Francis Marion University, effectively keeping the score at 5-0 with Brooklyn heading up to the plate.

Fred Jones would replace McAllister [five runs, three IP] for Staten Island and would get into some trouble of his own, giving up two hits and eventually a run after Jason Jacobs reached first on an error by Yankees second baseman Damon Sublett, allowing Chavez to score, stretching the Cyclones lead to 6-0.

Owen would continue to pitch for the Mets single-A affiliate into the fifth inning, slowing down the Staten Island offensive attack until Edgar Ramirez took over in the sixth. Giving up an RBI double off the bat of Tim O’Brien in the seventh, the Yankees scored their first run of the game, but that would be all the offense for the night from both teams, as Staten Island reliever John Axford would convincingly silence Brooklyn’s bats, striking out eight Cyclones through the game’s final four innings, while a combination of Ramirez, Josh Appell and Stephen Clyne would keep the Yanks scoreless the rest of the way, closing the door on a 6-1 Brooklyn victory.

Winning their first series of the year, Alfonzo admitted he loved the way his team managed to keep their composure into the wee hours of the night and feels the team is doing exactly what they should be doing at this point in the season, win.

“We have a little bit of everything, speed, defense, pitching and power” said Alfonzo. “This is what I like to see. We have a real team here.”