Sixth time's the charm for Doubledays

Cecil shuts down Cyclones to complete NY-Penn League sweep

(George Napolitano/

September 14, 2007 6:13 PM

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The sixth time proved to be the charm for manager Dennis Holmberg and the Auburn Doubledays.

Brett Cecil pitched a career-high seven innings and J.P. Arencibia and Darin Mastroianni belted two-run homers as Auburn finally captured its first New York-Penn League championship with a 4-1 victory over the Brooklyn Cyclones on Friday night at KeySpan Park.

The Doubledays qualified for the playoffs in each of the previous five seasons under Holmberg, but failed to win it all. That all changed in this best-of-3 series as Auburn cruised to a 7-1 victory in Thursday's opener before stifling the Brooklyn offense again in Game 2.

"Well, after 37 years, six division titles and countless special teams, I finally got one," Holmberg said. "I've gotta thank my entire coaching staff, all the players and the city of Auburn for its support."

Cecil (1-0) yielded one run -- a leadoff homer to Micah Schilling in the first -- on four hits and a walk while matching a career best with eight strikeouts.

"I haven't been a part of a championship game since high school," Cecil said. "I was nervous at first, but I was able to handle things well. It was definitely a great learning experience for me."

The 20-year-old left-hander had gone as far as six innings in only one of his previous 13 starts.

"This is the most innings I've ever thrown in any season," Cecil said. "I've been on a pretty strict pitch count all season. Luckily, I was able to keep my count down after the first inning and was able to get through seven at only 87 [pitches]."

Alan Farina allowed one hit and fanned five over the final two frames for his second postseason save.

The Doubledays managed just one hit off Cyclones starter Mike Antonini over the first four innings, but finally broke through in the fifth on Arencibia's first playoff homer. Mastroianni also connected for his first postseason long ball in the sixth to cap the scoring.

Brooklyn appeared primed for a big opening frame following Schilling's blast. Jake Eigsti followed with a single, but was erased when rehabbing Mets catcher Ramon Castro grounded into a double play. Jason Jacobs stroked a double to keep the inning alive before Cecil got J.R. Voyles to ground out.

"The double play in the first really settled me down," said Cecil. "I had to go to my off-speed pitches a little earlier than I wanted to, but after that first inning I was able to get in a nice groove."

Antonini surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk with a career-high seven strikeouts in six innings.

NOTES: Cecil gave up only one home run over 49 2/3 innings during the regular season. ... Castro went 0-for-3 in his third rehab appearance with the Cyclones. ... Brooklyn lost consecutive games for just the sixth time this year. ... Mastroianni and Arencibia combined for six homers in 458 at-bats during the regular season. ... The Cyclones were NY-Penn League co-champions in 2001 and runners-up to Williamsport in 2003.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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