I’ve never been surrounded by so many stars and for the first time since 2005 they all collided in Brooklyn during the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.
Being named to an All-Star team is one of the highest honors you can receive as a player — no matter what level you are playing at — it means you are one of the best at what you do, and you have earned the respect of your peers, coaches, and fans.
This year, six Brooklyn Cyclones were pegged as All-Stars, including starting pitchers Marcos Molina and Corey Oswalt, closer Shane Bay, right fielder Michael Bernal, shortstop Amed Rosario, and third baseman Jhoan Urena. And the team’s skipper Tom Gamboa managed the South All-Stars.
Playing the game on your home field, in front of mostly your fans, has got to be something special. Each one of the Cyclones All-Stars deserve to be on that team as Gamboa will be the first to tell you.
“We’ve got six players in it, so we’re well represented and well deserved on the guys that were chosen.” Gamboa said.
Cyclones fans have come to expect spectacular pitching this year and the All-Star Game was no different.
Marcos Molina got the start for the South All-Stars and he did what we have come to expect of him this season, dominated during his inning on the mound, striking out two batters. The next Cyclone to take the hill was right-hander Corey Oswalt in the fourth inning and despite giving up two singles, he got out of the inning unscathed, striking out his final batter. Closer Shane Bay came in for the final out of the top of the ninth and saw only one batter, reliable as always.
The left side of the Cyclones infield has been absolutely stellar this year, both offensively and defensively and All-Star best friends, Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena, are to thank for that. Both Rosario and Urena have multiple hit streaks going for them and are constantly making incredible plays at shortstop and third base. Urena seems to be Mister Reliable this season as he is the only player in the New York-Penn League to play in all 63 games this season and has three double digit hit streaks, making him the youngest Cyclone to do so at the age of 19.
“When you look at our two teenagers, Rosario and Urena, they both hit right at or near .300 virtually the whole season, they’ve been very consistent.” Gamboa said.
Rosario who started the game — the only position player from the Cyclones to do so — threw out three North All-Stars. Urena made his presence known with a play from third throwing across the diamond to first to get an out, and started off a failed double play in the eighth inning.
The Cyclones’ outfield was represented with the team’s right fielder, Michael Bernal, who for a time struggled at the plate and was striking out more than anyone in the league, but when he was hitting he was hitting for power. Defensively, Bernal is one of the best in right field with a rocket of an arm, and his speed has paid dividends, even if his hitting hasn’t been up to snuff.
“Michael’s average is nowhere near where he’d like it to be, but he has stolen 10 bags, he’s hit five home runs and he’s driven in 31 runs, and he’s leading the league in assists for outfielders with the bazooka arm that he’s got,” Gamboa said of his outfielder.
Unfortunately, Bernal struck out during his only at bat in the game.