June 19 on Staten Island
One down, 75 to go.
The Cyclones beat the hated Staten Island Yankees 3–2 in 12 innings on Friday night’s season opener on bucolic Staten Island.
Michael Bernal’s two-out single to left scored Enmanuel Zabala with the go-ahead run against the Evil Empire of the New York Penn-League — sending the our boys and the fans who traveled to the Rock to see them home with smiles on their faces.
Bernal, a second-year Cyclone who manager Tom Gamboa said needed to be more selective in his at bats before the season started, had been 0–4 with three strikeouts and a walk before his clutch hit.
Gaither Bumgardner was the winning pitcher, shutting out Staten Island in the 11th and 12th.
Carlos Valdez and Alex Palsha were effective out of the bullpen for Gamboa, combining for four innings of shutout relief.
“Carlos Valdez threw very good with them having six left-handed hitters in their lineup,” Gamboa said. “It kind of changed out plan with all the lefties and he did a good job of neutralizing them.”
Gamboa is expecting to use Palsha as a back-end of the bullpen guy. “We’re looking at Palsha being the guy setting up or closing, and he’s certainly shown good stuff, great poise, and did a good job.”
Brooklyn starter Tyler Badamo pitched six innings of two-hit ball, although one of the hits was a two-run homer off the bat of strapping right fielder Jhalan “Action” Jackson in the second inning, which put the Clones in a 2–0 hole.
Tucker Tharp’s RBI double in the fourth cut the lead in half, although a relay throw nailed the potential tying run at home.
Brooklyn tied the game in the sixth without the benefit of a hit. Michael Katz led off with a walk against Yankee reliever Yoel Espinal, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a ground out, and came home on another wild pitch.
Each team missed chances to score in the late innings. Brooklyn left the bases loaded in the Eighth, and couldn’t score in the 10th despite having a runner at third with nobody out.
Staten Island had runners in scoring position in the 10th and 11th innings, but failed to score.
At least a deer didn’t run onto the field: A record-breaking crowd of 7,483 was on hand for the Opening Night game, and it seemed as if the Yanks’ management was not ready for it. Construction of a new outlet mall next to the Richmond County Bank Ball Park forced the closure of the nearest parking lots, and drivers in mini-vans looking for spots around the neighborhood caused quite a traffic jam. Lines for refreshments were also long and slow from the get-go, with waits of up to 45 minutes. The bathrooms, which were dirty from before the first pitch, should also be kept cleaner. That said, the fireworks show after the game was spectacular, and team’s otherwise family-friendly atmosphere — with bouncy house, basketball game, and fun, on-field antics — made for a great night. Cyclones fans interested in attending games on the Rock should consider taking the free Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan (especially those living in neighborhoods close to Manhattan like Brooklyn Heights) instead of driving over the overly expensive Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. This year, the ferry, which takes about 25 minutes to cross the harbor, will run every half hour.