Baseball clubhouses are fertile ground for practical jokes and Brooklyn’s is no exception. Many times, good news comes as a surprise, but when players are summoned to the manager’s office, it’s usually not for good news.
Such was the apparent case for this season’s six 2018 Cyclone All Stars when they assembled in Manager Edgardo Alfonzo’s office to learn that they had to pay fines for alleged team infractions. After pleading their innocence, the players were finally congratulated when they were shown their names on the list of New York Penn League All Stars.
This season’s Cyclones All Star cast includes one of the league’s top starting pitchers, Jaison Vilera (5-2) who currently leads the league with 63 strikeouts along with a league-leading 1.43 ERA.
From the bullpen the Cyclones are also sending Yeudy Colon with a 1.25 ERA; he pitched 14 consecutive scoreless innings to begin the season. In addition to Colon, bullpen teammate Billy Oxford has earned a 5-1 record along with a 1.80 ERA.
For the position players, one of the Cyclones’ hottest hitters, outfielder Wagner Lagrange (.286) joins the Mets’ third round draft pick Carlos Cortes (.276) at second base along with the Mets’ 12th round pick outfielder Ross Adolph (.268).
Providing some insight into his recent selection as an All Star, Oxford, a second year Mets minor league pitcher, shared a critical detail of this season’s success. Giving credit to Royce Ring, Oxford stated that the Cyclones’ pitching coach has been an invaluable mentor to him saying, “He’s been a real savior for me.”
Noting how Ring has corrected his delivery from a twisting and sweeping motion to a more compact straight delivery, Oxford stated that the adjustment has completely improved his game.
As far as the team is concerned, last week the second place Cyclones returned to MCU Park to start a Latin Festival series with the Connecticut Tigers after being swept three games by the McNamara Division-leading Hudson Valley Renegades.
Donning their promotional Latin uniforms as the “Jefes” (Spanish for bosses) for a three-game home stand, the Cyclones simply took on a new persona with timely hitting and three outstanding pitching performances to sweep the Tigers.
First, Briam Campusano finally earned a win, giving up two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and going six innings for a 13-6 victory.
Next, Christian James (3-1) captured his third win of the season. going seven innings while giving no runs on three hits with five strikeouts. The Texas native’s outing allowed the Cyclones to beat the Tigers 2-0 and placed James in fourth place (2.05) among the league’s ERA leaders.
James’s buddy Kyle Wilson closed out the sweep of the Tigers by turning in one of the premier performances of the season, throwing five scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.
After Wilson left the game in the fifth, the Cyclones kept the fans on the edge of seats with a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, before the Tigers finally got their first hit in the eventual 9-2 Cyclones win.
At the conclusion of Week 9, the second-place Cyclones are 29-25, three and a half games behind the 32-21 first-place Hudson Valley Renegades.