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Cyclone heroes play key role in All-Star Game loss

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Cyclones were out in full force during Tuesday night’s New York–Penn League all-star game, but for once their bats weren’t blasting baseballs all over the field in a 4-3 loss for the National League-affiliated players.

The hometown heroes had a whopping eight stars in the mid-summer classic — no surprise given that the team has the best record in the New York–Penn League along with the highest batting average and the most home runs. Just as icing on the cake, their pitchers have given up the fewest earned runs.

But on Tuesday, the Clones’ mighty offense fell quiet, though their pitchers made a valiant — but futile — effort that culminated in reliever Ryan Fraser being stuck with a 4-3 loss for the National League.

Still, the mini-Mets can hold their heads high. The eight players on the all-star team is a franchise record and made the showdown on Staten Island look more like a run of the mill Cyclones road game.

Skipper Wally Backman was at the helm of the National League squad and praised his players.

“It’s great,” said Backman, the future manager of the New York Mets. “I’m really proud of our guys. But I thought we’d have a few more on there.”

Indeed, the list could have included surging J.B. Brown, with his .309 batting average; Brian Harrison, with his seven homers in 126 at-bats; and pitcher Chris Hilliard, who is 7–1 this season.

Regardless, here they are, your Cyclone all stars:

• Pitcher Yohan Almonte has a 1.73 ERA, the third best in the league, and a record of 7-3. He gave up a walk in the all-star game, but no hits or runs.

• Joe Bonfe is at sixth in the league with a batting average of .323. He also has 27 runs, 12 doubles, three home runs, and 20 RBI. He failed to get a hit in two at-bats.

• Darrell Ceciliani squashes the competition, leading the league in runs (47), hits (83), batting average (.364), and total bases (122). Ceciliani also the fourth most stolen bases (18), the third most doubles (16) and on-base percentage (.416). He had only one at-bat and did not get a hit — a rare occurrence.

• Angel Cuan remains undefeated with a record of 5-0 in 11 games started, and has a 2.06 ERA. He’s struck out 55 batters in 65-2/3 innings, more than any other pitcher in the league. He pitched a perfect inning with three strikeouts.

• Jeff Flagg has 39 RBI, the fifth best in the league. Flagg also boasts 13 doubles, five triples, six home-runs, and seven stolen bases. The mighty first-baseman did not notch a hit in the all-star game.

• Closer Ryan Fraser is fifth in the league in saves, with nine and has an 1.46 ERA. He’s whiffed 31 batters in just 24-2/3 innings. Unfortunately, he gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

• Now-injured shortstop Rylan Sandoval has a batting average of .330 and is also in third place for home runs (nine), sixth place in total bases (101), and eighth place in hits (61).

• With 12 dingers and 44 RBIs, Cory Vaughn is on track to break the Cyclones single-season records of 13 home runs and 46 runs batted in. Vaughn is second in the league for total bases (119), and has a batting average of .308, nine doubles, four triples, and 10 stolen bases. He was the only Clone hitter to notch a hit and run scored.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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