It was not the kind of game that anyone from the sellout Brooklyn Cyclone crowd was expecting to see at the start the 2016 season on June 17. Given the protracted length of the game, only a handful of diehards from that sellout crowd stayed to see the completion of the five and a half hour, 20-inning game when the Staten Island Yankees finally pushed the winning run across the plate just half past midnight.
Early in the first inning, the Cyclones appeared to get off last season’s hitting skid when returning centerfielder Enmanuel Zabala hit a solo home run over the left field wall in the team’s first at bat which seemingly made the statement that Brooklyn’s offense was going to make a re-emergence this season. The Cyclones’ early 1-0 lead would only hold until the fourth inning when the Yankees scored two runs for a 2-1 lead that the Cyclones matched in the bottom of the frame.
After DH Brandon Brosher doubled to center, Darryl Knight hit a booming triple to left center to plate Brosher for the 2-2 tie that would remain unbroken for 16 more innings. With the game pressing on without a run being scored by either side, Brosher found himself in the position to play the evening’s hero when he was down to a full count with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning. After getting a reprieve to stay alive at the plate on a misplayed foul ball pop up, on the next swing Brosher chased an outside pitch to end the inning and dash the Cyclones’ best opportunity to break the tie.
With memories of last season’s lack of offense in the forefront of fans’ minds, the game lingered on until the Yankees mercifully put the game to bed. Richardo Ferreira’s sacrifice fly hit off of the Cyclones’ substitute pitcher, infielder Dionis Paulino, scored the Yankees’ Dalton Blaser for the 3-2 Staten Island win in the top of the 20th inning.
Although this game was one for the record books for an opening day, it still didn’t surpass the New York Penn League’s record-setting 26-inning game that the Cyclones played in 2006.
In similar fashion on July 20, 2006, the Cyclones also ran out of pitchers and had to go position players to take the mound as outfielder Mark Wright would give up five runs to break up a 1-1 tie in the top of the 26th inning for the Oneonta Tigers’ 6-1, six hour and 40 minute win.
Although the Cyclones took it on the chin to open the season, they still hold the record over Staten Island, 10-3 for opening season wins over the Yankees.