BY JIM DOLAN
After winning five straight games to rise from the McNamara Division’s cellar to third place, the Brooklyn Cyclones reached .500 with a record of 20-20 to start a six-game road trip to Jamestown and Williamsport.
When asked how it felt to start a road trip finally at the .500 mark, Cyclone Manager Rich Donnelly stated, “You’ve got to get to that point, if you want to get beyond that point.”
Catching himself giving a somewhat cryptic answer like baseball’s “Old Professor,” Donnelly quipped, “I sounded like Casey Stengel just now, didn’t I?!”
Revising his answer, Donnelly simply stated, “We’ve just played better baseball this week to reach .500 and the hard work is paying off.”
Continuing their quest to rise in the division, the Cyclones’ pitching still remains their strong suit as last week’s New York Penn League Pitcher of the Week, Miller Diaz won his fourth game of the season beating Williamsport in an 8-1 win with eight strikeouts over six innings.
Currently, Diaz has 47 strikeouts and is second in the league behind fellow teammate John Gant (3-2) with the lead at 49 strikeouts.
For both their standout efforts, Diaz and Gant were selected as two of the New York Penn League All Star pitchers to appear in the mid-season classic in Norwich, Connecticutnext week.
In recognition of his first half performance, Miller Diaz will get the nod to open the All Star game as the National League’s starting pitcher with a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 2.34.
Joining the Diaz and Gant will be another Cyclone starting pitcher, Robert Gsellman and relief pitcher John Mincone. Also chosen as an All Star is L.J. Mazzilli, who has led offense since opening day, hitting over .300 for the first half of the season.
Also contributing to the team’s recent upswing that manager Donnelly has seen has been right fielder James Roche. As one of the Cyclones unheralded steady performers, Roche has also led the recent offensive uptick and has amassed 31 hits, 12 of which have been doubles, one a triple and one home run.
Although the third place 23-23 Cyclones went 3-3 on their recent six game road trip, currently only one game separates them from the first place 25-23 Hudson Valley Renegades with the pesky 23-22 Aberdeen Iron Birds holding on to second place in the McNamara Division.