WILD CARD STANDINGS:
Batavia.......44-30; 1 GB
Back In Front With Two Games Left In Regular Season. Seaside Sluggers Magic Number = Two.
Batavia finally lost for the first time in ten games. Potentially, the Cyclones finally got the break they have been looking for. In early Labor Day action, the Muckdogs lost to the Auburn Doubledays by a 5-3 score. As a result, Auburn retakes a one game lead in the Pickney Division over Batavia. That left the 'Dogs waiting around for the late game final out of Brooklyn.
Would the Cyclones take advantage of Monday's early development? Under the threat of rain, the game in Coney Island started on time. On the mound, Luis Cessa started for Brooklyn against Lowell's Francellis Montas.
Cyclones fans were hoping the first inning was not an omen of things to come. Francellis Montas struck out the side, with all three batters swinging at strike three. Back to back singles to lead off the second inning however, quickly calmed those fears. The Brooks couldn't take advantage though. Both base runners were stranded.
Each team scored in the fourth inning. An RBI single by Jake Davies put Lowell on the board. In the bottom half of the inning, Francellis Montas was pulled from the game after surrendering a single to Kevin Plawecki, and issuing a walk to Nelfi Zapata. With two outs, the Spinners called on Francisco Tavares for relief. A single by Juan Carlos Gamboa scored Plawecki from third to tie the game at one.
Brooklyn took a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Kevin Plawecki's third hit of the game knocked in Dimas Ponce with the go ahead run.
Through eight innings, the Cyclones accumulated ten hits against Lowell pitching. However, they only had the two runs to show for it. That was okay, because Brooklyn's hurler, Luis Cessa, was still cruising late in the game. He retired the side in order in the first, third, fifth, seventh, and eighth innings. He allowed four scattered hits, and surrendered the one run back in the fourth. Luis issued one walk and struck out one to that point
In the bottom of the eighth, Brooklyn increased their lead. They loaded the bases with one out. Brandon Nimmo's grounder forced the lead runner at home for out number two. Lowell's Francisco Tavares, who was in his fourth inning of relief, then walked Dimas Ponce to force in Brooklyn's third run. Phillip Evans followed, and delivered another insurance run with a single.
As he pitched so efficiently throughout the game, Coach Donnelly sent Luis Cessa out for the ninth inning. The first batter he faced doubled. After striking out his second batter of the game, and a 5-3 put out, a single set up a first and third situation. That's when Coach Donnelly ascended from the dugout to go remove his starting pitcher. In relief, Tyler Vanderheiden secured the last out of the game to preserve Brooklyn's 4-1 victory.
Vanderheiden earned his twelfth save of the season. After a brilliant performance, Luis Cessa improved his won/loss record to 5-4, and lowered his ERA to a 2.49 mark. The heart of Brooklyn's line-up; Phillip Evans, Jayce Boyd, and Kevin Plawecki; combined on nine hits in fourteen at-bats.
The Brooklyn Cyclones lead the Wild Card race again by one full game. Two more remain on the schedule. Their magic number is two. Should Brooklyn defeat Lowell Tuesday evening, coupled with another Muckdogs loss, the Cyclones would clinch the Wild Card. Otherwise, this race may very well get decided on the last day of the regular season.