Lowell Spinners 5
Sept. 5 at MCU Park
The Cyclones dropped their final game of the regular season to the Lowell Spinners but clinched a postseason berth anyway, giving Brooklyn’s boys of summer a chance to play into the fall for the ninth time in their 12-year existence.
Hours after their NY–Penn League wild card race rivals the Batavia Muckdogs fell to the Jamestown Jammers in the first game of a double-header — securing the Clones a first-place finish among second-place teams — skipper Rich Donnelly scratched several key offensive players from the line-up including center fielder Brandon Nimmo, catcher Kevin Plawecki, and shortstop Phillip Evans. He even penciled in reliever Matthew Koch as the starting pitcher.
Koch pitched two scoreless innings, but seemed to have trouble finding the plate in the third, throwing a wild pitch with third baseman Mike Miller on first, then plunking second baseman Mookie Betts. Miller stole third and Betts stole second with shortstop Deven Marrero at bat, and Koch threw another wild pitch to let Miller score and Betts move up again. Marrero hit a sac fly that drove Betts home, and Donnelly yanked Koch for reliever Timothy Peterson, who got the final out of the inning.
Peterson opened the fifth by giving up a solo home run to right fielder Kevin Heller, leaving Lowell up 3–0. But Brooklyn tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, after Spinners reliever Raynel Velette let Coney first baseman Jayce Boyd drop a fly ball into center for double, then allowed designated hitter Jorge Rivero to lace one to left and drive Boyd in. Catcher Jeffrey Glenn and second baseman Richie Rodriguez drew walks to load the bases, and a line drive double from right fielder Eudy Pina sent Rivero and Glenn home.
But the Spinners came back in the eighth, after Brooklyn set-up man Paul Sewald surrendered a line drive single to Miller and an error at second base allowed Marrero to reach base, leaving runners on the corners with just one out. A single by first baseman Jake Davies then let Miller cross the plate.
Clones closer John Mincone took the mound in the ninth and let Heller crush a pitch over deep left field for a solo home run. The diminished Brooklyn offense failed to come up with a run in half of the frame — letting long-eliminated Lowell take the win.
Now the Clones will face the Hudson Valley Renegades — the McNamara Division champs — in a three-game series starting on Sept. 7. Brooklyn managed to go 7–3 against the division champs on the season.
The Cyclones are home again at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449–8497, www.brooklyncyclones.com] on Friday at 7 pm as they take on the Hudson Valley Renegades in the first game of a three-game series.