Brooklyn Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said his team led the New York-Penn League in extra inning tilts last season. So it was only fitting that the game went into extra innings as it reached the end of nine frames.
Unbeknownst to Gamboa at the time that the affair would take 20 innings, five hours and 39 minutes to complete, with the Cyclones falling, 3-2, to the Staten Island Yankees in their home opener Friday night at MCU Park in Coney Island.
“I was telling Sean (Ratliff, hitting coach), as soon it got to the end of nine, I said, ‘I think we led this league in extra-inning games last year, and wouldn’t you know that we’re going to start right off with this one (with extra innings),’” said Gamboa, who is in his third year at the helm with the Cyclones. “I have been doing this for 40 something years. This is the third longest game I ever played.”
Things began well for the Cyclones, as centerfielder Enmanuel Zabala lead off in the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer to take a 1-0 lead.
Staten Island retaliated within two runs in the top of the fourth thanks to third baseman Mandy Alvarez’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly from left fielderKendall Coleman that made it 2-1 in favor of the “Baby Bombers.”
Brooklyn would not lay dormant for long, as catcher Brandon Brosher laced a one-out double to place himself in scoring position. First baseman Darryl Knight followed with a triple into the left-centerfield gap that tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
However, that was all the scoring for both teams for quite a while, until Dionis Paulino, a third baseman, came in to pitch in the top of the 20th and quickly surrendered three straight walks to juice the bases for the Yankees.
Centerfielder Ricardo Ferreira wouldn’t allow the scoring opportunity to fall by the wayside, as he hit a sacrifice fly that gave the Yankees the eventual 3-2 win.
The next game didn’t bode well for the Cyclones (0-2) as well, as Staten Island (2-0) no-hit Brooklyn in a 2-1, 10-inning affair in the Yankees’ home opener Saturday night at Richmond County Ballpark.
Brooklyn is currently 4-6 through its first 10 games.