Cyclones’ pitchers rise to occasion  

After a 5-6 two-week road trip to Rome, Ga., and Bowling Green, Ky., the third-place Cyclones (20-19) returned to Coney Island to take on the Hudson Valley Renegades, the New York Yankees’ High A affiliate.

Although the Cyclones had a sub-.500 road trip, the team returned to Brooklyn to continue on a four-game winning streak that started on the road and ended at home. On the home stand, starting pitching would be key to the Cyclones winning four of the six games to win the series against the Renegades.  

The Cyclones’ four wins included premier pitching that saw recent St. Lucie call-up Jonah Tong collect his first win after two no-decisions. Remaining on the mound for 6.2 innings, Tong struck out eight while giving up one run on four hits and a walk. Following Tong, Dakota Hawkins finished the game by pitching 2.1 scoreless innings while giving up a hit and a walk with two strikeouts for a 7-1 win.

In the following game, another St. Lucie call-up, Kade Morris, made his Coney Island debut. The Mets’ third-round 2023 draft pick started Wednesday’s matinee and was hit immediately by Hudson Valley for a run in the first inning. The Modesto, Cal., native out of the University of Nevada settled down in the second inning and went on to earn his first win by striking out seven batters over six innings while giving up four hits, a walk and a run in the 3-1 win.

“It was outstanding pitching,” said pitching coach Dan McKinney. “He pitched with passion and positive emotion. Kade was fired up; he’s a fiery competitor.”

 “It was awesome to see him get punched in the mouth in the first inning to give up a run and then to make a comeback,” McKinney said. “He started to pound the zone and was very effective. He had a knack on two strikes to get the outs when needed. He just loves to compete; he’s an elite competitor.” 

Morris’ performance was followed by Douglas Orellana’s 4.2 innings of scoreless pitching that left him one out short of a win. Despite being pulled from the mound in the fifth inning, Orellana managed to strike out five batters while giving up four hits.

Offensively, Stanley Consuegra came through with a grand slam for the 7-1 win.

Later in the home stand, fans saw the season’s best pitching performance thus far by second-year southpaw Felipe De La Cruz. In his seventh appearance of the season, De La Cruz struck out a career high 13 batters over six innings and gave up a walk and two hits in the 7-3 win over the Renegades.  

After taking the Hudson Valley series, the third-place Cyclones headed to Lakewood, N.J., to play their local rival, the second-place Jersey Shore Blue Claws, in hopes of gaining some ground in the division.

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