Brooklyn picked a bad time for a three game losing streak. After losing Friday’s clash to the Staten Island Yankees, the Aberdeen Iron Birds and Cyclones met head-on to decide the McNamara Division title. The Iron Birds blanked the Cyclones 7-0 in Saturday’s series opener, which knocked the Cyclones back to one-half game behind Aberdeen for the division lead.
On Sunday, the teams engaged in a scoreless duel for the first six innings of the game. The Cyclones finally took a 1-0 lead in the home seventh. First baseman Alex Sanchez drove in the game’s first run with a single to center, scoring left fielder Jared King. But Aberdeen quickly tied the game in their next at-bat off reliever Tyler Vanderheiden.
Left-handed Dario Alvarez made Sunday’s start for Brooklyn, opposed by Aberdeen’s Hunter Harvey. Alvarez pitched 5.2 innings, allowing no runs on four hits. He walked three batters and struck out six before leaving a scoreless game.
The teams entered the ninth inning still tied at one. Paul Paez became Brooklyn’s third pitcher of the evening, and quickly positioned himself into a bases loaded jam. With no outs, Iron Birds right fielder Mike Yastrzemski doubled to center field, clearing the bases for a 4-1 Aberdeen lead. That instigated another Cyclones pitching change, and in came Juan Urbina from the bullpen, who promptly unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Yastrzemski to score Aberdeen’s fourth run of the inning.
With three hits in the bottom of the ninth, and help from a throwing error, Brooklyn mounted a comeback but came up a run short. Aberdeen finally closed out a 5-4 victory, their second straight over the Cyclones, enabling them to escape Coney Island with the McNamara Division lead.
Aberdeen entered Brooklyn this weekend trailing the Cyclones by one-half game. With this evening’s loss, the Brooks now drop to 37-35, and 1.5 games behind Aberdeen, who improved to 37-32 on the year. With only three games left in the regular season, gaining the playoffs as a Wild Card entrant is out of the question. Brooklyn has been eliminated from that race. For the Cyclones, it’s either win the division title or go home. Their last three games will be on the road against the Tri City Valley Cats, while the Iron Birds will square off against the Lowell Spinners. Brooklyn needs at least two wins against Tri City, and for Lowell to sweep the Iron Birds in order to make the playoffs. That’s a tall order but stranger things have happened. This is baseball after all.
Both series are wonderfully intertwined and rife with playoff implications, and not just as it pertains to the Cyclones. The Tri City Valley Cats and Lowell Spinners are also still battling for Stedler Division supremacy. The two teams faced off against each other this weekend. Lowell began Sunday with a 0.5 game lead over the Valley Cats, while in the Wild Card race, Tri City trailed the Jamestown Jammers by 1.5 games.
By night’s end, Tri City defeated Lowell and moved into first place of the Stedler Division by one-half game. Therefore, with respect to Brooklyn, Aberdeen will be facing a very motivated and desperate Lowell ball club. In the Wild Card race, Jamestown lost, and it is now Lowell who trails the Jammers by one full game.