On a muggy Tuesday afternoon in Coney Island the Brooklyn Cyclones defeated the first place Hudson Valley Renegades 2-1 in walkoff fashion. With the Cyclones taking game one of the series on Monday night, they now find themselves series winners and only .5 games out of first place in the McNamara Division
Brooklyn donning their powder blue alternate jerseys, sent ace Garrison Bryant to the mound to face off against the crafty left hander John Doxakis. Both pitchers found themselves dealing in the opening frames. Bryant recorded two strikeouts and a weak fly ball to retire the side 1,2,3. Doxakis induced weak contact and only allowed one base runner coming on a hit by pitch to Antointe Duplantis who was left stranded.
Garrison’s success against the Renegades hitters continued, having three consecutive 1,2,3 innings and retiring nine in a row. The first base runner for Hudson Valley came in the fourth on a Christian Pedroza infield single to first baseman Gavin Garay. Bryant, found himself in some trouble with a man on first and third and one out but a couple of great pitches gets him out of the jam.
The Cyclones offense seemed to have a spark in the bottom of the fourth when shortstop Joel Romero led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. Luke Ritter follows up the base hit with a five pitch walk to move Romero into scoring position. Just when things seemed to be unraveling for Doxakis, he gets Peroza to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and Garay to fly out to end the Cyclones threat.
The Cyclones had another good opportunity to score in the bottom of the fifth when catcher Jose Mena led off with a line drive single and was followed up with a Beracierta walk. Mangum doing a great job by getting a bunt down, advanced both runners into scoring position giving Duplantis an opportunity to break the scoreless tie. With a couple of more great pitches, Doxakis escapes danger again by getting Duplantis to strike out and Reyes to fly out to end the inning.
Hudson Valley would end up breaking the games scoreless tie in the top of the seventh when the Renegades recorded a single and a double to put two men in scoring position. Left fielder Pedro Diaz came up clutch with a big two out single to the left side scoring Jordan Muffley. With Duplantis coming up throwing K.V. Edwards gets nailed at the plate keeping the score at 1-0.
With hope dwindling for the Cyclones going into the bottom of the ninth, Gavin Garay gives them a spark with a broken base hit to lead off the inning. With pinch runner Kennie Taylor coming in for Garay, Jake Ortega stepped in the box to pinch hit for Mena. Ortega came up clutch with a two strike bloop base hit setting up the sac bunt for Beracierta. With the successful bunt both runners move into scoring position giving Jake Mangum an opportunity finally cash in.
Down 0-2, Mangum chops a ball up the left field line that was bobbled by the third baseman Santiago allowing the tying run to score on the infield base hit. With Antointe Duplantis set up to be the hero, on a full count he lines a screaming base hit up the middle. With Ortega racing around third and Hiott coming up throwing, the play at the plate was close, with Ortega just getting his hand in to win the game.
The Cyclones piled out of the dugout to celebrate the series win with their walk off hero Duplantis. When interviewed about his first professional walk off Duplantis said, “It’s always fun, it’s just cool to celebrate with the team. It gets everyone more fired up when you play a game as big as this.” When walking through his approach in his last at bat he said, “I clearly wasn’t having the best day at the plate, I just tried to flush everything that happened with my previous at bats and focus on the now. I knew that one at bat can change the whole day.”
Even though a nice walk off win makes manager Edgaedo Alfonzo happy, there is still some frustration about the lack of capitalizing on their opportunities. Alfonzo said, “When you have the kind of start Bryant had today you only need one or two runs, it’s frustrating especially when those runs are left out there in the early innings.” With the past five games being decided by one run Alfonso claimed, “It has definitely been more of a stressful atmosphere, especially for our bullpen who is putting too much pressure on themselves to get out of an inning.”
Overall the Cyclones made this game more stressful than it needed to be, leaving eighteen men on base and five in scoring position. Brooklyn’s pitching kept them in the game by only allowing one run and giving the Cyclones the chance to finally capitalize in the bottom of the ninth. The Cyclones go for the sweep and a chance at first place tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the final game of the season against the Hudson Valley Renegades.