Cyclones hit the Rocks in Wilmington to start season 

After being eliminated by the Blue Rocks on the last day of the 2023 season, the Brooklyn Cyclones opened this season on the road in Wilmington against the same team that spoiled last season’s playoff hopes. The Cyclones have a new manager, 32-year-old Gilbert Gomez, the youngest skipper in the Mets’ minor league system. The Dominican native said that it was very exciting to finally open on the road despite 40-degree temperatures.   

Noah Hall makes his pitching debut.

As an up-and-coming young manager, Gomez is coming off a year that saw him manage the Low-A Port St. Lucie Mets in 2023. Additionally, he was surprised with a managerial appointment to the Tigres del Licey of the Winter Dominican League, where his team captured the Caribbean Series Championship.

Strength and conditioning coach Trent McMaster, left, poses with Brooklyn’s opening day lineup.

Now as a High-A manager, he was facing Blue Rocks manager Mario Lisson, another former minor league player whom he played against when he was an outfielder in 2015 with the Double-A Binghamton Mets. Although he skipped a level to play for Brooklyn, while at Binghamton he did play with several Cyclone All-Stars like Michael Conforto, Paul Sewald and Brandon Nimmo who were eventually called up to join the Mets.

After settling into their new housing accommodations at Coney Island, the Cyclones got in limited practice at Maimonides Park due to last week’s torrential East Coast rains before taking the bus down to Wilmington this past Friday night, April 5. Taking the mound for his first professional debut was the Mets’ 2023 7th round draft pick Noah Hall out of the University of South Carolina.

With high expectations, Hall was given the opening day nod after having a good spring to earn his way onto the starting rotation. However, a strong-hitting Blue Rocks team made contact early by the fourth inning, taking a 4-1 lead that would stand up for the eventual win. The 23-year-old Hall gave up four runs and five hits and had three strikeouts in his innings.

“You saw his process,” said Gomez. “He showed that he could battle. He must gain more control and get in sync with his body.

“I don’t believe that the cold affected him; he has to work on his stuff.  He fell into tonight’s game slot coming off the rotation that we’ve set up since last week.  We’re confident that he’ll do better next time.” 

Considering the Blue Rocks took an early lead with a homer, several bloops and several blasts, Gomez cited that in the later innings the Cyclones had men on base and left them stranded.

“We just couldn’t get that big hit,” he said. “We had our chances. When the centerfielder robbed Clifford of that long fly ball, that could have been a game changer for us.”

Summing up the opening, Gomez said, “Chalk it up to the first loss of the season and let’s be ready for the rest. Trust the process and that should produce results. Look, it’s early, we just started the season and we have over one hundred games still to go!”

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