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Coney Island Franks sizzle for a comeback win

The Brooklyn Cyclones helped to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nathan’s Famous over the Fourth of July weekend with a renaming of the team to the Coney Island Franks on Sunday, July 3. Nathan’s has been one of the Cyclones original sponsors, and, in fact, consideration was even given to naming the team the “Hot Dogs” during the team’s 2001 inception.

Taking on this new persona, the fourth-place 7-10 Cyclones came back from an early 4-0 deficit to beat the Connecticut Tigers 5-4 with timely hitting and sterling pitching. Although he uncharacteristically gave up four runs in the second inning for an early Connecticut lead, RHP Harol Gonzalez ended up striking out ten Tigers before leaving in the fourth inning as the bullpen came in to pitch five scoreless innings to hold the slim one run lead.

Going into the sixth inning trailing 4-3, the Cyclones put together a rally punctuated by Blake Tiberi’s triple to center field to score Nick Sergakis to tie the game at 4-4. Jacob Zanon followed to single home Tiberi for the 5-4 go-ahead run that would stand up for the win.

Over four games pitched (22.1 innings) the 1-1 Harol Gonzalez has raised his strikeout total to 31 to lead the Cyclone pitching staff. “All of his games have been for high strikeouts; the second inning was an aberration tonight,” said Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa. “I don’t know how to explain it. He’s got the most poise and composure on this staff.” Noting that after seeing a batter for just one time, Gamboa explained that Gonzalez has the uncanny ability to take off or add something on a pitch to get a batter out.

As far as hitting was concerned, Gamboa was glad to see his team come back and to finally win a one run game. “It seems like every night we have a one run game, but they’re character builders,” said Gamboa. “I admire the resiliency of these kids. We kept pecking away for the win and we’re starting to swing the bats better to go the opposite way instead of trying to pull everything.”

In one particular case, Gamboa was glad to see the Mets 2016 third round draft pick Blake Tiberi (.138) start to hit the ball once again with authority as he recently did in college. After Hitting Coach Sean Ratliff noticed a hitch in his swing that prevented him from catching up to a fastball, the University of Louisville star worked on his swing in batting practice and come through with a game-tying triple as a part of the comeback win.

According to Tiberi, it’s been just “a matter of getting into some bad habits” after taking some time off from college before entering professional baseball. “I’m still adjusting to this level after playing college ball,” said the former Red Bird who hit .331 this past season in 62 games for Louisville. “The caliber of pitching is higher at this level and you have to take advantage of that one pitch you can hit,” stated Tiberi.

Concluding his interview to pack up for an eight-hour overnight bus trip for a three game series in Batavia, Gamboa stated, “After getting the longest road trip out of the way and a well deserved day off, hopefully we can build on this.”

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