2001-09-12 / Sports

Cyclones Beat SI Yanks In Playoffs; Title Round Next

Cyclones Beat SI Yanks In Playoffs; Title Round Next

By Richard Kagan

It took almost half a century to have a winner back in Brooklyn, but in their first season in the New York-Penn League. the Brooklyn Cyclones, the ‘A’ farm team of the New York Mets, are the 2001 McNamara Division Champs, after beating the Staten Island Yankees 4-1 last Saturday night before a thrilled, sold-out crowd at KeySpan Park.

The Cyclones were down 0-1 in the best out of three playoff series going into the first home game of the playoffs last Friday night, and won going away 8-4, as Brooklyn took advantage of six SI errors en route to the victory. On Saturday night, Staten Island played much better defense, but the Cyclones got a great game from catcher Brett Kay, who hit a clutch two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Cyclones a 4-1 cushion. Earlier in the top of the seventh inning with the Cyclones nursing a 1-0 lead, the Yankees looked like they tied the game up when Jason Turner headed toward home on a base hit. But left fielder John Toner threw a perfect strike to Kay, who decoyed Turner and tagged him out just before he reached home plate.

Kay acted as if the ball was too late coming from Toner, and Turner didn’t slide, but Kay caught Toner’s peg and applied the tag. It was a big play. Outfielder Angel Pagan, who had a great series, drove in the Cyclones’ second run in the last of the seventh with a sharp single to left field. Now it was a 2-0 game and time was running out for Staten Island.

Starter Ross Peeples got the win, going seven strong innings. Lefty Blake McGinley gave up a run-scoring hit to the dangerous John-Ford Griffin in the top of the eighth inning to make it a 2-1 nail-biter, before Kay’s blast sealed the deal. McGinley got into gear in the ninth and struck out the side to send Brooklyn into the NYPL championship round against Williamsport this week.

In Friday night’s game, the crew from Staten Island started out fast and scored three runs off the eventual winner, Mike Cox, in the second inning. But the Cyclones fought right back and put up three runs, in their half of the frame to tie the score. The big hit of the inning was Pagan’s two-run double which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Pagan’s hit signalled that the Cyclones were going to play tough and that’s exactly what they did. Pagan felt that his team could come back from being behind. "I knew we can make the comeback because all year we’ve been making comebacks," Pagan said. Pagan, who led the league with 30 stolen bases, has become one of the fan favorites this season. He came up big when it really counted.

Slugger Frank Corr drove in Kay with the go-ahead run in the next inning when he laced a double. Corr, who hit 13 round-trippers this season, was philosophical after the game. "We had to win two [games] anyway, why not start now?" he asked rhetorically. The Cyclones did. Manager Edgar Alfonzo was happy with the way the team fought back from the three-run hole to pull out the win. "That was a great job by the guys tonight," Alfonzo said.

The 8-4 victory set up the third and decisive game on Saturday night. Peeples, who had nine wins during the regular season, was very effective. The Cyclones made the plays when they had to and Kay played a game he’ll probably never forget.

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