Offensive Barrage Lifts Cyclones Over Valleycats

Brooklyn Cyclones’ manager Rich Donnelly has said on many occasions this summer that runs in the New York-Penn League are as precious as gold.

But based on the past few games, his team has been filthy rich.

The Cyclones pounded out 15 hits in an 8-1 victory Monday night at MCU Park over the Tri-City Valleycats, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Houston Astros.

brooklyn-cyclones copy“It’s baseball,” said Donnelly, slightly perplexed about where his team’s recent offensive surge has come from. “I’m trying to figure it out. It’s one day to the next. All of a sudden, they’ve start hitting. I just watch.”

Brooklyn has now won four straight games and has scored 32 runs during that stretch.

It was Daniel Murphy bobblehead night in Coney Island, and while he went 0-for-4 for the big club, the Cyclones broke the game open early – picking up right where they left off Sunday when they scored a season-high 12 runs in a win over the Vermont Lake Monsters.

An RBI double by left fielder Jared King in the bottom of the first inning opened the scoring, and designated hitter Alex Sanchez followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Cyclones batted around in the bottom of the second, plating five runs. Shortstop Gavin Cecchini and second baseman L.J. Mazzilli each laced RBI singles, and right fielder James Roche had the big blow in the inning with a two-run triple to straight away center field.

Roche has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games. He’s batting 18-for-47 (.383) over that stretch and has raised his batting average from .221 to .259.

“Things are starting to come together towards the end of the year,” Roche said. “I’m just trying to put together quality at-bats every single at-bat.”

Left-handed Dario Alvarez improved to 2-4 on the season after pitching five innings of four-hit ball with five strikeouts to pick up the win. The only run he allowed was on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth inning.

Every Cyclones’ starter except catcher Colton Plaia recorded at least one base hit. Center fielder and leadoff man Jonathan Clark reached base three times and scored two runs.

Clark was hitless in his first 14 Cyclones’ at-bats and then went on an eight-game hitting streak, batting 11-for-33 during that stretch. He went cold again with an 0-for-24 stretch, but now he’s seven for his last 20 with eight runs scored in his last five games.

“If I just learn how to relax and do what I’m supposed to do, which is get on base, then it makes the game a lot easier,” Clark said. “The more I get on base, the more runs we get.”

Brooklyn remains in second place in the McNamara Division just a half game behind the first-place Aberdeen Ironbirds, who earned an extra-inning 8-3 win Monday night.

The season has only two weeks left, and the Cyclones seem to be clicking at just the right time.

“We really have high hopes for the end of the season,” Roche said. “We’re just taking it game-by-game, pitch-by-pitch.”

“We’re hungry,” Clark said. “We want to make the playoffs, and we want to make the championship, and we want to win it. We’re here to win.”

The Cyclones are back in action Tuesday night against the Valleycats and will send righty Dawrin Frias to the mound. Game time is 7 p.m.

Click here to view the complete box score from this game.

About Jim Mancari 255 Articles
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Be sure to visit