CONEY ISLAND — A day after Brooklyn clinched the New York Penn League championship by beating the Lowell Spinners 4-3, the Mets invited the Cyclones to Citi Field to be recognized as their 2019 Short Season A minor league affiliate champs. For the majority of the team, this would be their first visit to the park where they hope someday to play.
Current Met players and former Brooklyn player Brandon Nimmo (Cyclones 2012) and Robert Gsellman (Cyclones 2013) greeted the minor leaguers as they formed a line to watch batting practice. In addition to former Cyclones players, Met players Jed Lowrie and Robbie Cano who recently rehabbed with the Cyclones came over to the line of minor leaguers for handshakes and “selfies.”
In one of the closest playoff races in Cyclones history, “the Kids from Coney Island” took the playoff race down to the last day of the season by beating the Staten Island Yankees 4-1 at home on a nine-strikeout pitching performance by Long Island product Frank Valentino to capture the McNamara Division.
After winning the division, Brooklyn beat the Hudson Valley Renegades in the first playoff round to advance to meet the Lowell Spinners, the team that occupied the top of the Stedler Division for most of the season.
With the best-of-three series tied at 1-1 at MCU Park, the Cyclones won their first New York Penn League championship since their 2001 inaugural season.
With Lowell leading 3-2 in the seventh inning and the dominating Yusmiel Pardon-Antilles (7-1; 84 strikeouts) on the mound, the Cyclones made a late-game comeback against the Penn League’s top pitcher to win the championship.
Jake Mangum proceeded to single and scored on an Antoine Duplantis triple, followed by a Joel Romero RBI single to put Brooklyn ahead 4-3, a tally that would stand up for the championship win.
With the championship in the balance, Cyclones Manager Edgardo Alfonzo sent in one of his most reliable late inning relief pitchers, Andrew Edwards, who had struck out 17 batters over his last 7.1 innings.
Edwards held the Spinners scoreless over the eighth and ninth innings, and recorded the final strikeout for the Penn League championship as his celebrating teammates charged the field to rip off his jersey. Commenting on the victory, Mangum stated, “Andrew Edwards had ice in his veins tonight; he slammed the door for us to win this championship.”
Winning his first Penn League championship after being at the helm of the Cyclones for three years, Manager Alfonzo stated, “This was a talented group of guys who had their ups and downs all season and continued to work very hard to win. They listened to the coaching staff and never gave up, as you saw tonight.”
Echoing his manager’s sentiments, Mangum added, “We were all very tired but we listened to our coaches today and went out there to just compete as hard as we could for our last nine innings of the season.”