After torrential rains cancelled the New York Penn League’s season opener in Staten Island on Monday June 19, the Cyclones hosted the Yankees on the following day for their home opener at MCU Park.
Anxious to have a new team back in Coney Island to start the 2017 season, fans could only groan as the rival Yankees took an early 3-0 lead by the third inning. It was a game that featured some shaky baseball from both teams throughout the game that included seven batters hit by a pitch (4 Cyclones & 3 Yankees); and three passed balls, two wild pitches and one balk by the Cyclones.
However, by the fourth inning catcher Carlos Sanchez atoned for his two passed balls with a two run RBI double to help the Cyclones tie the game at 3-3. Hope for maintaining the tie was quickly dashed in the fifth inning when former St. Johns grad student Joe Napolitano relieved starter Jake Simon only to give up four runs for a 7-3 Yankee lead.
Looking to get back on the scoreboard, the Cyclones’ Reed Gamache was hit by pitch by Branden Pinder who eventually loaded up the bases only to also hit Ian Strom to force Gamache across the plate for the final 7-4 score. Despite forcing in a run, Branden Pinder in long relief was Staten Island’s star of the game giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out five to hold Brooklyn scoreless going into the seventh and eighth innings.
Assessing the loss, Cyclone Manager Edgardo Alfonzo stated that he was “glad to get this one out of the way.” He stated that players and even managers get “butterflies” on opening day. Noting that his team had played better in Florida than what they showed on opening night, the new first year manager was looking forward to his team getting on track during their upcoming three game road trip to Vermont.