Mar 14, 2013; Clearwater Beach, FL, USA; A detail of a major league baseball at Clearwater Beach. Spring Training for MLB is held throughout the Florida from early February to late March annually. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball By The Seashore: The 2014 Brooklyn Cyclones


Baseball by the boardwalk is back.  The Brooklyn Cyclones 14th regular season is underway.

Mother Nature unfortunately postponed Friday’s night’s season opener between the Cyclones and Yankees in Staten Island.  On Saturday however, the Young Bums earned a convincing 8-2 victory over the Yanks at Coney Island’s MCU Park in Brooklyn.

Twenty-three year old right-hander Octavio Acosta climbed the hill for Brooklyn, and was opposed by Staten Island’s David Palladino.  In 4.2 innings pitched Acosta limited the Baby Bombers to one earned run on 2 hits and 4 walks.  He fanned 7 batters, but did not figure in the decision.  The victory was credited to Brandon Welch who tossed 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Acosta.  Offensively, the Cyclones returning catcher and clean-up hitter, Tomas Nido, was 2 for 3 at the plate with 2 runs batted in during Brooklyn’s 8-2 winning effort.

On Sunday, this year’s first Battle of the Boroughs shifted back to Staten Island where the teams split a double-header.

They played the series finale Monday night in Brooklyn.  Also entering his second season with the Cyclones, 23-year old southpaw Carlos Valdez started against Staten Island’s Jordan Cote.  Valdez struggled with his control, as he allowed 2 earned runs on 2 hits and 6 walks, while fanning 3 over 4 innings pitched.  He exited to a no-decision.

The Cyclones and Yanks ended the 6th inning knotted at two, then came Brooklyn’s mistakes.  An E9 allowed a pair of unearned runs to score off reliever Gaither Bumgardner in the 7th.  Two more errors in the 8th led to another pair of unearned runs to make it a 6-2 game.  The Yankees picked up yet another run in the top of the 9th against reliever Edioglis Villasmil.  Bumgardner was credited with the loss.

The season starts 2-2 for both New York-Penn League locals.

Tom Gamboa is in his first season managing the Cyclones.  While he is new to the organization, Gamboa and Sandy Alderson crossed paths in 2009 when both worked for the San Diego Padres.  Pitching coach Tom Signore is also entering his first season with the organization.  He spent the previous 8 seasons coaching in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.  Brooklyn born Benny Distefano returns for a second stint as hitting coach.  He last served the Cyclones in 2010, then spent the next three seasons in Savannah and Port St. Lucie.

Along with Tomas Nido and Carlos Valdez, three others return for a second stint with Brooklyn: LHP-Shane Bay, INF-Anthony Chavez, INF-Dimas Ponce.

Three selections from the recent June amateur draft are with the team.  Catcher Tyler Moore was selected in the 6th round.  Lefty pitcher Brad Wieck was selected in the 7th round, and outfielder Tucker Tharp was selected in the 30th round.

The Mets top three draft selections remain unsigned.

Many eyes will be fixed on 18-year old shortstop Amed Rosario.  Listed at 6’2″ and 170 lbs., he may yet out-grow the position, however that remains to be seen.  He played 58 games at shortstop last season for Kingsport.  Prior to the opening of this NYPL season, Amed participated in 7 games with Savannah in which he served as designated hitter 4 times and played third base once.

The 2013 Kingsport Mets won the Appalachian League western division title with a 40-27 record.  Ten members of that team will call Coney Island home this season.  Joining Amed Rosario will be infielder Jeff Diehl, outfielders Michael Bernal and Joe Tuschak, and catcher Adrian Abreu.  Joining Edioglis Villasmil on the hill will be Juan Urbina, Brandon Welch, Corey Oswalt and Alberto Baldonado.

Brooklyn Cyclones Roster

The Cyclones failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, ending a string of 4 consecutive appearances.  However, they have finished each of their previous 13 seasons above the .500 mark, and have led the New York-Penn League in attendance over that same span.

I’m particularly excited to watch the Kingsport graduates play this season, and look forward to another summer of baseball by the Coney Island seashore.

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