Great Pitching and Vogl's RBI Single Clip IronBirds Wings in 4-3 Win
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, June 28, 2008
BROOKLYN, NY - After losing his spot in the starting lineup early this season, Cyclones outfielder Will Vogl was trying desperately to rediscover his game.
Talking to reporters before the game, it was obvious; his demeanor looked completely different from the confident and gritty outfielder that hit .300 for most of the season in 2007.
Trying to stay positive, Vogl assured the media he was ready to help the team anyway he could.
“I'll do whatever it is they want me to do,” he said before the game. “Whether it's pinch running, hitting or subbing on defense, it doesn't matter.”
Despite the words of willingness, it remained to be seen just how quickly Vogl could retain the passion that made him a fan favorite last season.
A few hours later, the St. Johns product proved that he indeed has some fire left, hitting a game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Baby Mets a 4-3 come from behind win.
“It felt great,” Vogl said. “Anytime you get into a game, you want to make sure you help the team. I'm happy I did. They put the bat in my hand and let me swing and it worked out. I was nervous, I didn't want to mess up, but I made sure I stayed back and found a pitch to hit.”
While it was the offense that again got them the victory, it was their pitching the kept them in the game throughout. Coming into the game with an 0.87 ERA, Pedro P. Martinez made his third start of the season for the Clones. Far from perfect early on, Martinez gave up three hits, a walk and two runs in the first, putting his team down early. The inning could have been much worse for Brooklyn however, as center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis saved a run throwing out Aberdeen's Chad Durakis, who tried to score on a fly ball hit to shallow center field with one out.
“Martinez was too quick the first two innings,” said Cyclones skipper Edgar Alfonzo. “He was trying to throw too hard and it hurt him.”
The 22-year-old righty wasn't able to keep the Baltimore Single-A affiliate off the scoreboard in the second either, giving up another run and stretching Aberdeen's lead to 3-0. While Martinez was struggling, IronBird's starter Cole McCurry kept the Clones bats quiet through the game's first four innings, as the Mets Single-A affiliate couldn't get a runner past second base.
Martinez did manage to get better as the game progressed though, throwing four scoreless innings before he left the game. The Cyclones bats started to come alive as the game progressed as well, as a Matt Bouchard RBI single in the fifth scored Josh Satin to break McCurry's shutout.
“I was throwing a lot of fastballs in the beginning,” said Martinez through an interpreter. “After the third, I got comfortable and started using my sinker more. They told me I needed to slow down and to not be so aggressive. Once I did, I was successful.”
The Cyclones offense, while showing signs of life earlier in the game, didn't get going until McCurry left the game in the sixth with one out and runners on first and second and lefty Rick Zagone on the mound. The southpaw wasn't nearly as solid as his predecessor however, as the first hitter he faced, Nieuwenhuis, smoked a line drive double into the gap in left center, scoring Zach Lutz and John Servidio, tying the game at three runs apiece.
With the score tied in the seventh, Mike Lynn came out of the Brooklyn bullpen and made his professional debut. Walking the first two hitters he faced, Lynn was quickly yanked by Alfonzo in favor of lefty Jimmy Johnson. One of Alfonzo's early-season favorites out of the pen, the La Miranda California-native kept the score at 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth.
“He's our lucky charm,” Alfonzo said. “We haven't lost a game he's pitched in all season.”
Getting lead-off singles off Aberdeen reliever Brandon Cooney from Bouchard and Murphy in the ninth, the Mets Single-A affiliate needed only a hit or sacrifice fly to come out victorious.
Vogl, who replaced Eric Campbell in the seventh inning, made sure that was exactly what the team got, slamming an RBI hit into the gap in right-center field and giving the Clones a 4-3 come from behind win.
“Even though he's not starting right now, he's still one of my favorite players,” said Alfonzo of Vogl. “He works so hard out there. I'm happy for him.”
Winning the first two games of the series, the Clones now find themselves one game over .500 and only a half-game behind the McNamara Division leading Hudson Valley Renegades. While Alfonzo admitted it was too early to think about standings, he did admit the team is beginning to take shape.
“I don't want to say we can go all the way,” he said. “But I think it's a possibility, we have a really good team here.”
Mets right fielder Ryan Church couldn't replicate his 3 for 3 night from the night before, going 0-3 with two strikeouts, but that didn't mean the Cyclones didn't appreciate his efforts. He is expected to rejoin the Mets tomorrow.
“He's such a class act,” said Alfonzo. “He spent a lot of time with these kids and did a great job with them. He played as hard here as he would have if he was playing with the big club. I was very impressed.”
Zach Lutz [two hits] recorded his fourth multi-hit game of the season. So far this season, Lutz has played in seven of the team's 11 games after missing four with a sprained ankle he suffered in Aberdeen.
2006 Cyclone Daniel Murphy also recorded three hits in his first game of a rehab assignment with the Double-A, B-Mets. He's expected to be with the team for at least two more days.
“He's a hitting machine,” said Alfonzo. “He can hit the ball anywhere.”