Cyclones’ pitching dominates homestand  

In Coney Island, pitching remains predominant for the Cyclones as their corps keeps them in third place in the South Atlantic League North Division’s standings. Last week fans saw Cyclone starters and relievers dominate from the mound to win four out of six on their last homestand against the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

Along with two other stellar pitching performances by Brandon Sproat and Nolan McLean, 20-year-old Jonah Tong made his High-A debut in Coney Island during a mid-week matinee against Aberdeen. Getting the call up from Single-A St. Lucie, the Mets’ seventh round 2022 draft pick distinguished himself with nearly a 48.9 percent strikeout rate over 18 innings, striking out 36 of 68 batters that he faced in Florida without giving up a run. In his Maimonides Park debut, Tong pitched five innings while giving up two hits and a run while striking out seven in what turned to be a no-decision due to the Cyclones’ late-inning loss.

Cyclones pitcher Jonah Tong struck out seven batters in his High-A debut. Photos by Jim Dolan

Although Tong was impressive on the mound, he admitted after the game that his debut was still a rough one that he had to battle through.

“I really had trouble with my fastball today,” said the Ontario, Canada, native. “The fastball kept rising for me and my slider wasn’t working either. I had to rely on my curveball for strikes and to get outs.”

As for Tong’s unique high leg kick and deceptive over-the-top delivery, he said, “It’s a repetition for me. I keep all my windups the same and just vary my pitches with different grips so I don’t give the pitch away.”  

Similar to Tong’s debut, former Cyclone Christian Scott also earned a no-decision as he made his major league debut for the Mets. In fact, it was just last season when Scott was throwing off the mound at Maimonides Park. After a meteoric rise through Double-A and Triple-A this season, the Mets’ fifth round 2021 draft pick made his major league debut on the road last weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays.

To help the Mets’ ailing starting rotation, Scott answered the call to become the 99th Cyclone to appear in the major leagues and become the first former Cyclone to debut in 2024. Although the Mets lost 3-1 late in the game at Tropicana Field, Scott was still impressive on the mound, recording a no-decision for his debut while throwing 6.2 innings while giving up just one run on one hit and one walk while striking out six batters. 

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