Cyclones storm into season

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn Cyclones are on pace to go 76–0.

The pride of Coney Island — who fell just two wins short of a league championship last year — jumped all over their hated, cross-Narrows rivals, the Staten Island Yankees, with back-to-back, home-and-away victories on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

A crowd of 8,240 — not a record for the eight-year-old franchise, but a packed sellout at Keyspan Park — enjoyed every minute of the home opener, from the National Anthem sung by kiddie rock legend (and Cobble Hill resident) Dan Zanes to the final weak Yankee groundout that sealed the 3–1 victory.

On Wednesday night, the Brooks traveled to Staten Island to give their enemies a 9–4 thrashing.

In both games, tough-luck third baseman Zach Lutz, who missed the entire 2007 season after breaking his ankle in the very first game, had two runs batted in.

“I’m just happy to be back,” he said, though warned Cyclone fans not to get fooled into thinking he’ll knock in a pair of runs every game.

“No,” he said, “but I am going to work hard all season for the fans.”

Being back at Keyspan Park is, after all, always about the fans, echoed manager Edgar Alfonzo, who is beginning his third season as Clones skipper.

Despite a lifetime 106–52 record in his two prior seasons, Alfonzo said after the opening night game that he still felt nervous as he taped up the lineup card and signed autographs for the fans who know him as “Fonzie.”

“I always feel nervous,” he said. “The fans here, they really want to win, so it makes you nervous. You saw me out there — I was screaming, I was arguing with the umpires. We want to win for these fans.”

The nerves, he said, definitely did not have anything to do with the news from earlier in the day that Willie Randolph, manager of the parent club, the Mets, had been fired.

“Me and [Cyclone GM] Steve Cohen are fine, so I guess I’m safe for now,” he said, laughing.

Judging by his team’s inspired play over the first two games, he has nothing to worry about.

In the opener, Lutz started the scoring by smacking an RBI double to left in the first. He later knocked in another run with a nice piece of hitting in the fifth, poking a ball to right to drive in a run from third.

Great starting pitching from Pedro “No Relation” Martinez (4 1/3 innings, no earned runs) and relief by fireballer Wendy Rosa (2 2/3 innings, four strikeouts) and closer Yuri Santana (1 inning, two Ks) kept the Yankees off balance all night.

On Wednesday, an hourlong rain delay didn’t dampen the Cyclones fire. A 10-hit barrage paced the team to a 9–4 win.

Again, Lutz knocked in the first run — again with a first-inning double.

But the Clones broke open the game with a five-run third inning. After two singles, Yankee pitchers walked Lutz, then hit the next two batters and walked Josh Satin. A Jefferies Tatford single and a Cesar Cordido SAC fly capped the frenzy.

The Cyclones added three insurance runs in the ninth, one on a double by — you guessed it — Zach Lutz.

Starter Tim Stonach got the win with five innings of strong pitching, yielding just four hits.

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