Tag Archives: psal

Flushing Red Devils face tough opponent on road to championship


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

red devils

BY LARRY FLEISHER

Flushing High School sophomore cornerback Kameron Walker walked off the football field toward the sideline Saturday, and said, to no one in particular, “One step closer to Yankee Stadium.”

Walker had just made a game-ending tackle and the Flushing Red Devils had advanced to the quarterfinals of the PSAL Championship conference playoffs with a 34-14 victory over South Shore.

“That’s good, because that’s got to be their goal,” coach Jim DeSantis said of Walker’s comment. “If it’s not their goal, then we’re just going through the motions. I really think that this year it’s wide open, and if we get a little bit lucky, we can be right there.”

The Red Devils are two steps away from reaching Yankee Stadium to play for their first PSAL championship. Their next step will be a week of practice and studying film in preparation for what could be their greatest obstacle − a visit to the formidable Lincoln High School in Coney Island.

Last year’s visit came a round later in the semifinals. Flushing had knocked off New Dorp and Curtis in the first two rounds when the Red Devils made the trip to Lincoln, where they lost in a 55-7 rout that saw them trail 41-0 at halftime.

That ended the deepest run of any team in the history of the program, which began in 2005 as a freshman-only team and four years later, moved from the developmental level to the Championship Division, which is the most competitive of the PSAL’s three-tiered alignment.

“That Lincoln team last year was a monster,” DeSantis said. “It was an elite team like I’ve probably never seen in the City of New York before and I’ve been doing this 20-something years. Now, I think there’s no real elite teams. I think there’s more parity.”

The skeptic would argue what else would you expect a coach to say? He’s not going to give his team no chance. But DeSantis certainly has conviction in his voice.

“I think this might be one of the better teams we’ve had,” DeSantis said.  “We were pretty good last year, but we were kind of one-dimensional in that we had just a running back. Now we can kind of spread it around. I feel good about it.”

DeSantis would have every reason to feel good if some of the things that happened Saturday were to repeat themselves next week. Among them were three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Terrence Chavis, four different players scoring touchdowns and a steady stream of receptions from Keron Hermitt, including a 77-yard TD late in the second quarter.

If the Red Devils are going to Yankee Stadium, they will have to win on the road. Based on what DeSantis witnessed with his senior-laden team, the belief is that it can happen starting next week against an opponent that has won two of the last three city championships.

“Lincoln’s a good team,” Chavis said. “We’ve got to be able to play defense well and our O-line has got to play strong to get our running game running and our passing game going. That’s basically it.”

Queens Sports Preview: Everything you need to know for the weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

FootballHC1409_X_300_C_R

BY LARRY FLEISHER

Red Devils open PSAL playoffs

Flushing High School will open the PSAL playoffs Saturday at noon by hosting Brooklyn’s South Shore High School. Led by senior running back D’Andre Sapp, who rushed for 842 yards, the Red Devils earned the seventh seed with an 8-2 record. Sapp had 135 yards and ran for two touchdowns last week in a 48-7 rout of Campus Magnet. The Red Devils were the fourth seed last season and beat Curtis and New Dorp before a 55-7 loss to top-seeded Lincoln in the semifinals.

Commodores look to make up for last week’s loss in PSAL’s Varsity Bowl

Bayside High School will host James Madison in the PSAL’s Varsity Bowl Saturday at noon. The Commodores finished the regular season with an 8-2 record and earned the fourth seed. Bayside ended the regular season on a down note with a 40-14 home loss to top seed McKee last Sunday in a game where it was outgained 468-93. Earlier this season, Bayside posted a 22-18 victory over Madison when Tyrell Plaza had 179 yards and two touchdowns. Bayside is seeded fourth for the second straight season. Last year, the Commodores routed Staten Island’s Petrides High School 52-20 before losing to McKee in the second round.

Bayside girls volleyball returns to playoffs

Bayside’s girls volleyball team returns after a one-year absence as the fifth seed against No. 28 Environmental Studies. The Commodores were 10-0 during the regular season and won nine of 10 games in straight sets. Bayside is led by senior setter Mariel Medina, who compiled 150 assists during the regular season. If the team wins, it will face Van Buren, and if they win that game, will face either New Utrecht or Lab Museum.

Francis Lewis volleyball to open playoffs against Bryant

Francis Lewis earned the eighth seed in the volleyball playoffs by going 8-2 in the regular season and will open the playoffs against No. 25 Bryant. The Patriots were an eighth seed two years ago and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to top seed Susan Wagner. Should the Patriots advance they will face the winner of the Flushing-Long Island City contest.

Flushing Red Devils to start playoffs with highest seed in four years

Flushing High School will also open the playoffs Wednesday as the ninth seed against No. 24 Long Island City. The Red Devils went unbeaten (10-0) in winning the Queens A North/East title and have their highest seed over the last four years. Long Island City finished the regular season with a 7-3 record that was good for second place in the Queens A West Division.

Townsend Harris and Jamaica neck in neck as playoffs begin

Townsend Harris earned the 16th seed and will face off against No. 17 Jamaica in the opening round of the volleyball playoffs. Townsend Harris finished 6-4 and in third in Queens A East and that included two victories over defending champion Cardozo. Jamaica was 7-3 and finished in second place in Queens A North East. Townsend Harris lost in the second round to Bronx Science last year while Jamaica lost to JFK in the first round. The winner will face top-seeded Brooklyn Tech.

Red Storm to open season against Yale

The St. John’s women’s basketball team will open its season Saturday afternoon with a visit to Yale. The Red Storm have been to five straight NCAA tournaments and were picked second in the preseason Big East coaches poll. St. John’s also received seven points in the preseason AP poll and 16 in the USA Today/Coaches poll. The Red Storm returns with its two top scorers from last season, Aliyyah Handford and Danaejah Grant.

Queens College Knights looks to end losing streak

Queens College will open its men’s basketball season Friday at Goldey-Beacom in Wilmington, Delaware and will try to rebound from a disappointing 9-18 season. The Knights lost their first 12 games before finishing 9-6 over the final 15 and will look to end a string of four straight losing seasons. The women’s team will begin the season against St. Michael’s in Vermont in the Doubletree Tip-off Classic.

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Channel View HS baseball wins first-ever city championship


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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


The Channel View High School Dolphins’ storybook season could have ended all wrong.

Tied at 5-5 apiece in the final inning against Bronx High School of Science Wolverines at the PSAL division B championship game on Thursday, Dolphins pitcher Marvin Hernandez came in to relieve starting pitcher Kely Aponte, who just gave up two runs.

With one out and the winning run at third base, Hernandez got his first batter to hit a fly ball to center.

Centerfielder Antonio Moccia made the catch, and then fired a canon to home plate, which catcher Joseph Calandra caught and tagged the runner in time to save the game.

“After it hit the grass I knew I had it,” Calandra said about the play. “I was just worried about holding on to it.”

The game went to extra innings, until the ninth inning. While the bases were loaded, the wolverines walked Sergio Galdamez and two batters later David Polanco smacked a double to give the Dolphins a 7-5 victory and the school’s first baseball championship.

The win capped a magical run for the boys from the Rockaways.

Just a few years ago, former Mets prospect head coach John Mangieri, who has played 10 years professionally including a stint with the Italian national team in the World Baseball Classic, came to Channel View and met a group of enthusiastic players lacking equipment.

As coach, he whipped the team into shape, and transformed them to a perennial Queens powerhouse in the B conference. But the Dolphins came up short consecutive years in the playoffs.

“When I first took the job four years ago, we literary had kids saying coach I need a glove and showing up to practice in jeans,” Mangieri said. “Talk about a total 360.”

 

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Cardozo wins first baseball championship in nearly 30 years on coach’s birthday


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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


All season long, and through the post season as well, Benjamin Cardozo senior pitcher Keith Rodgers has been literally unbeatable.

He went 7-0 in the season with a 0.02 ERA (and 3-0 with a 0.04 in the playoffs) and for five innings of the 2014 PSAL division A baseball championship game against Tottenville on Thursday, Rodgers plowed through batters, while holding on to a slim 1-0 lead.

But a fatigued Rodgers found himself in a pickle in the sixth after walking two batters. With two outs, he gave up a single, which scored one run and tied the game at 1-1. It seemed as though Rodgers could have his first loss of the year in the most important game.

Rodgers, however, came through in the final inning with his bat, not his arm, and lined a single into left field to break the tie. The Judges added another run in the inning, then senior Jun Young Lim came in for relief and struck out the side for a 3-1 victory at Yankee Stadium, and Cardozo’s first championship in 26 years. 

“I was just trying to put the ball in play. I didn’t make the best contact, but it got through,” Rodgers said. “I really just tried to lock in the very last (at-bat), make sure I could do something and get a run for us.”

Senior centerfielder Chris Campbell, who will attend Monroe College next year, gave Cardozo the 1-0 lead in the first inning. He blasted a double to right field, sending sophomore infielder Noah Cabrera home.

“We were underdogs coming into this, but we showed that we could complete with any team in the league,” Campbell said.

The win became extra emotional when players began signing happy birthday on the field for head coach Ron Gorecki. Gorecki, who has coached high school baseball for more than four decades around city schools, admitted has never had a team like the 2014 Benjamin Cardozo Judges.

There are a few standouts— specifically seniors Rodgers, Campbell and Lim— but otherwise the team doesn’t have many superstars. So Gorecki works on a system of “synergy,” which he describes as players substituting for others’ weaknesses and working together. He attributed the win to his team philosophy.

“The real bottom line here is that we are synergy, this team is built on synergy,” Gorecki said. “We have guys that can run, we have guys that can’t run, we have guys that can throw, we have guys that can’t throw. So what they do is they substitute for one another.”

 

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Channel View HS baseball advances to PSAL championship game at Yankee Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


After years of disappointment for the Channel View High School baseball team, players are now confident that “no one can swim with the Dolphins.”

Despite three previous winning seasons, including one tied for the conference title, the Rockaway team was a one-and-done squad in the playoffs each year. And even though they finished first in the Queens B South conference this season (14-2 PSAL), they faced doubts of their chances in the postseason. The Dolphins knew they would sink, not swim, in the playoffs this year again if they didn’t step up.

“Other teams, rivals, even the school doubted us at first,” senior infielder Sergio Galdamez said. “They said we wouldn’t past the first round. But look at us now — we’re in the championship.”

Channel View proved the critics wrong with four consecutive wins in the postseason, including three against higher-ranking teams, to reach the PSAL Division B championship game at Yankee Stadium on June 12 against five-seeded Bronx High School of Science. The Dolphins are like a fish out of water as they make their way to uncharted territory, but players believe they’ll be ready for the final game.

“I don’t want to think about being nervous,” said senior Kely Aponte, the team’s ace who will pitch in the championship game. “I want to stay confident to go out there and do what I do.”

The championship game is also a déjà vu moment for Channel View head coach John Mangieri, who won a city title at Yankee Stadium when he played for Archbishop Molloy 20 years ago. Mangieri said he’s excited to see his players living a dream that he has been through before.

“Four years ago this program had kids with no gloves, kids showed up in jeans,” Mangieri said. “These kids will have lifelong memories, and win or lose they are champions in my book.”

 

 

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Benjamin Cardozo HS tennis star takes city title again


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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre



She’s done it again.

Benjamin Cardozo junior tennis player Sabrina Xiong became a two-time PSAL individual champion after defeating Stefani Lineva of Forest Hills High School on Wednesday at the National Tennis Center.

Xiong, who ranks first in the PSAL and also in the United States Tennis Association’s under 16 eastern section, was in top form and breezed past Lineva in two sets (6-1, 6-1).

“It’s definitely a feel great feeling just knowing that all my hard work and training paid off,” she said.

Xiong, who has been in contact with NCAA Division 1 college coaches, dreams of turning pro one day but first plans to go to college and major in economics.

But before she heads to the next level, Xiong still has something left to accomplish at the high school level.

During her career at Cardozo, the Judges have come up short in the PSAL team tennis finals for three consecutive years. They lost against Beacon High School (4-1) on May 13— Xiong won the only match in the best of five series.

In her senior year next season she hopes to lead Cardozo to a team championship.

“Cardozo has always been top in tennis,” Xiong said. “Unfortunately, we’ve fallen short in the past three years. It would be great if we got it.”

 

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Cardozo impresses as first-ever PSAL ping-pong season draws to a close


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THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


For 13 years Benjamin Cardozo physics teacher Joshua Glasel has been the coordinator of the school’s table tennis club.

Glasel, who played table tennis recreationally for 16 years, had asked the school’s athletic directors for years about the sport — also known as ping-pong — being included in the PSAL. His inquiries were shut down year after year, and eventually he stopped asking.

Then, the PSAL decided to finally include the sport in its long list of athletic programs last year and administrators came to Glasel’s table tennis club to ask if he was interested in forming a team.

“I was like, ‘Finally,’” said Glasel, who is now coach of the boys table tennis team. “We’ve had a club for 13 years and we have had years like this one when we’ve had some good players, but there was nowhere to exhibit [their talents].”

The PSAL added ping-pong this year, bringing its variety of sports to nearly 30. This season started in March with just 12 schools, separated in two divisions of six teams for both boys and girls.

That was reduced to just four schools each for boys and girls in the recent city playoffs, and Cardozo’s teams survived to the semifinals where they met Stuyvesant on May 19 for a chance to go to the first-ever PSAL table tennis championship.

Cardozo’s boys team (8-2 PSAL) was shut out in the best of five matches series by Stuyvesant, 5-0, to end their season.

However, the girls team (9-1 PSAL) dominated with a 4-1 victory in their respective series to advance to the championship round. Sophomore Jenny Chen, the team’s best player, routed her opponent (11-0, 11-5, 11-3).

Chen, a six-year veteran of the sport, was influenced by friends to join the team after it was created, because of her experience playing in various leagues and tournaments outside of school. She was a member of Cardozo’s handball team, but quit to possibly help Cardozo win the first-ever ping-pong championship.

“Everyone kept telling me to join because I could make history,” Chen said. “If we win first place, [ping-pong] would be more known in the school. A lot of people make fun of ping-pong and they think it’s not a real sport, but if we could bring back a trophy, it’ll show it’s actually a pretty serious sport.”

The PSAL will move table tennis to the winter schedule, meaning teams won’t have to wait for spring 2015 for the next season. The league also plans to expand the number of schools in the divisions, which could mean more competition.

Many players are excited for the competition, but for some graduating students it’s a dream come true a little too late.

“With it more as a sport, it’s only going to expand,” senior Cardozo boys player Jingyih Lee said. “Next year there will be more competition and it’ll just bring out better players. If the sport had developed earlier, I would have had a chance to take my game to the next level.”

 

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Cardozo boys and girls tennis teams blown away in finals


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THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

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A year has passed, but the results stayed the same for the Benjamin Cardozo boys and girls tennis teams in the PSAL finals.

For the second year in a row, both teams reached the Division A championship at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing.

And once again, they both lost to the same opponent from last year — Beacon.

The boys team struggled throughout the best of five matches and wasn’t able to capture a single game against Beacon, losing 5-0 at the championship Tuesday.

“It was a good season,” boys coach Peter Ciorciari said. “I have a great bunch of kids.”

Sabrina Xiong

The girls were also dominated (4-1), except for their ace, the PSAL’s top-rated girl tennis player—junior Sabrina Xiong.
Xiong handily defeated her opponent (6-1, 6-2) for the team’s only win.

Despite the team’s loss, Xiong was happy they had another good season and overall finish.

“It’s always just an honor to be in the finals,” Xiong said. “Of course it’s disappointing, because who wants to lose?”

 

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Cardozo flies over Aviation with shutout in final home game


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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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Benjamin Cardozo senior Jun Young “David” Lim was humble going into his final high school home baseball game Monday against the Aviation Flyers.

All season long, the Judges were cruising undefeated at the top of the PSAL Queens A East conference, while other schools chased them. But in their most recent game, the John Bowne Wildcats finally caught up and gave Cardozo a 7-6 defeat. Smelling blood, Aviation — the conference’s second place team by a half-game — was looking to upset Cardozo and take the top spot.

“That loss against John Bowne really [motivated] us to do better,” Lim said. “If we didn’t lose, we would have been too cocky. We always come on the field like we’re the best — while that’s a good thing — I think sometimes we have too much confidence and that could damage the team.”

His modesty helped him recognize Aviation as a significant threat, and Lim hurled a complete game shutout, 2-0, with 11 strikeouts and only three hits. With the win, Cardozo (14-1 PSAL) secured at least a tie with Aviation (12-2 PSAL) for the regular season conference title, and denied the Flyers a chance to win the division solo.

The offense was slow for both sides throughout the game. But Cardozo got the advantage after a two-run homer in the top of the third by center fielder Chris Campbell. Campbell, a senior, said he was ecstatic to cap his final high school home game with a homer and the win, and is looking forward to the playoffs.

“You don’t want to look back and say, ‘I could have done this, I could have done that,’” he said. “I have faith in this team, honestly. This year we are more of a family, so I feel we will go much further than in previous years.”

 

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John Adams Spartans’ ace in the hole


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If the John Adams High School Spartans baseball team is to go far in the playoffs this year, it may rest on the arm of pitcher Anderson Deleon. Deleon, who is being pursued by three colleges, has a fiery fastball and a tricky breaking ball.

His record this season is 5-1, and he leads the PSAL (as of May 7) with 79 strikeouts in 12 games, while sporting a 0.06 ERA.

In a recent match against Queens A West conference leader Newtown High School (11-1 PSAL), Deleon pitched a complete game shutout with 15 strikeouts. Besides his pitching, Deleon is also a capable batter. He has a .366 batting average in 41 at bats, and he has a .409 on-base percentage.

Although the John Adams Spartans (11-2 PSAL) are still competing with Newtown for the conference crown, Deleon believes that his team will ultimately succeed. 

“As far as I’m concerned, we got the best team to go all the way,” Deleon said. “And I have 100 percent confidence in myself and my team to win everything.”

 

UPDATE: On May 7, after this article was published in The Queens Courier, John Adams High School once again defeated Newtown, sweeping the season series and tying for first place in the conference. 

 

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PSAL basketball’s top scorer chooses school over his sport


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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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In a small classroom in Campus Magnet High School, the PSAL’s 2014 top scorer Nohah Vickers stumbled over an emotional speech before signing his National Letter of Intent.

He had just two shirts representing the schools that offered him full scholarships to play basketball at the next level. The first was Delaware State University—a Division 1 school that plays in the same conference as Norfolk State University, where pro player and former Campus Magnet standout Kyle O’Quinn played.

The other shirt was for Division II Mercyhurst University, a liberal arts Catholic college. After getting through his emotional story about the season, his basketball journey and the painstakingly difficult decision of which college to choose— which he couldn’t even make until the same morning—Vickers finally said it: “Mercyhurst.”

“I wanted to choose a school that best fits me, education-wise,” Vickers said at the event on Thursday.

Vickers, who led the league averaging 33.2 points per game and finished with 466 points scored, choose getting a degree and focusing on education rather than playing basketball. Besides being an all-star player, Vickers is a scholar who will graduate with a 93 average.

A very small percentage of college players from Division 1 schools actually go to the NBA — it’s an even smaller percentage from high school. At 5’9’’, 165 pounds, Vickers’ chances were reduced even further.

“Every kid that accepts a college scholarship, they think the next step from the college scholarship is the NBA,” Ken Vickers, Nohah’s father, said. “I know the next step for Nohah that [relieves] me as a parent is the job market.”

Campus Magnet HS head coach Charles Granby has preached his famous message of brains before basketball to his players for the 45 years he’s been at the sidelines, and taught players to dedicate themselves to getting their degrees.

Granby retired this year, but was present for Vickers’ selection party, and was proud of his choice.

“He’ll play for four years and after he comes out of there, he will have to find a J-O-B,” Granby said. “I always tell the boys, “Don’t wind up in the prison system, get that degree because that degree is your invitation to the party.’”

Vickers isn’t giving up on sports yet though. He plans to major in sports management at Merychurst.

 

 

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Campus Magnet Coach Charles Granby honored after 45 years


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THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Charles “Chuck” Granby, who retired from coaching the Campus Magnet High School boys basketball team after 45 years, had his official retirement party on Saturday.

Many past players, including Orlando Magic forward Kyle O’Quinn and Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy, were in attendance to honor the PSAL’s winningest basketball coach.

Granby’s past and current players gave testimonials, many of which referred to the coach’s famous “ugly life” speech — which means that without education, everything in your life will be “ugly.” They attributed their success in life to

Granby’s focus on their education over their basketball skills.

“Looking in a room like this, this is a testament to him,” Cornegy said. “It strengthens my resolve to go on and continue to work with young people.”

Granby, 72, has won 722 games in his time at the school. He has taught basketball to thousands of teens over the years, and his teams have won 24 division titles, seven Queens championships and the coveted city title in 1985.

He was presented a crystal cube with his picture from a former player and also a special quilt featuring highlights of his career at Campus Magnet, formerly Andrew Jackson High School.

“It’s so emotional,” Granby’s daughter Robyn Granby-Poole said. “It was good to get it done.”

 

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Commodores catching fire with win over Wildcats


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No one needed to remind Bayside Commodores outfielder Julian Rodriquez what a big moment it was when he came to bat in the fifth inning against John Bowne on Monday.

The Commodores were leading the Wildcats 3-1 when Bowne’s freshman pitcher, Elvis Torres Devargas, started to lose control.

He walked the bases full, and Bayside coach Pat Torney turned to Rodriguez, a sophomore who didn’t have a single hit for the season in seven at bats, to pinch hit. Rodriguez’s at bat defined Bayside’s season. The Commodores have lacked offense against the conference’s top teams early in the season, resulting in a slow start.

But in this situation, Rodriguez smacked a double to drive in three runs and lead Bayside to a 9-4 victory over John Bowne. The Commodores (3-4 PSAL) are now hoping that with the win over the tough Wildcats (5-2 PSAL), they can continue the offense and turn around the season.

“We are starting to hit,” senior Elijah Leerdam said. “We weren’t hitting much before. Last game we didn’t come through for [our pitcher].”

Before the holidays, Bayside suffered a devastating 5-3 defeat to John Bowne, the conference’s second place team, after the team’s ace Jeremy Arenas pitched eight innings. Before that the Commodores dropped a pair of embarrassing losses to the perennial conference champs, the Benjamin Cardozo Judges, by a combined score of 27-0.

But the Commodores aren’t going to see the Judges again for the remainder of the season. And here they were with another opportunity to top the Wildcats, if only they could keep up the offense. Rodriguez waited patiently for Torres Devargas to throw a fastball down the middle of the plate, and blasted the double over the center fielder’s head, unloading the bases.

“I had to come up big,” Rodriguez said of what he was thinking while at the plate. “I was a little nervous at first, but then I just made contact with the ball and it went far.”

Arenas gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning, but held the Wildcats for the remainder of the game. He pitched a complete game with three strikeouts in the Commodores’ most impressive win of the season.

The team moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Queens A East division, and they believe if they can continue to pick up the bats like Rodriguez did, they might be able to pull this season out of the gutter.

 

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Bayside girls flag football team scores historic first win


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THE COURIER/Photos Liam La Guerre

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The air was tense in the final six seconds of the game at Bayside High School field on Tuesday.

The Commodores were about to defeat Townsend Harris 6-0 after scoring the game’s only touchdown and the home team was feverishly preparing to defend its lead.

“Defense,” one man shouted from the crowd of parents and students on the bleachers.

“This is your home field, Bayside,” another said.

It could have been the atmosphere for a boys football game, but in reality it was the second-ever Bayside H.S. girls flag football game.

Just two years after the PSAL introduced flag football as a new sport for girls, Bayside students and fans enthusiastically embraced it.

“This is a great school to go to and we have a very good sports program. I just wanted to bring something new to get even more kids involved,” said head coach Magdalini Kassims.

Kassims surveyed students to test the desire to play the sport two seasons ago. Nearly 100 girls signed up. Last year, she hosted a tryout, where about 50 girls showed up.

Kassims had enough to fill at least two teams, but made tough cuts to get down to 25 girls, spawning the first-ever girls flag football squad at the school.

Made up of academics, artists, musicians and athletes of all kinds, the team is a composite of girls who appreciate sports and others who want to learn football. Some actually have some football experience, such as sophomore quarterback Lenore Aponte, who scored the team’s lone touchdown against Townsend Harris.

Aponte, who also plays basketball and soccer at Bayside, said she learned how to play football by joining games with “boys at recess,” so she immediately jumped at the opportunity to play for the school.

“I was so excited when we heard it was a go,” Aponte said. “I love playing football. It’s fun and I’m good at it.”
The team isn’t lacking in spirit. With the game on the line, the girls screamed “Intercept it,” for the final play, a pass attempt by Townsend Harris.

Bayside’s defense wrapped up the Lady Hawks, stopping the play and giving the Commodores (1-1 PSAL) the first win in history.

Although she is happy they won, Kassimis said she is mostly concerned with the experience the girls will get from playing football.

“Winning is important because we all like to be winners, we all like to feel good,” she said. “But what’s more important to me is that the girls have a positive experience. If you worked hard enough and you’re dedicated enough, eventually the wins will come.”

 

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Red Hawks flying high, fresh faces eyeing back-to-back titles


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High School for Construction junior softball player Jenasez Alves has something to prove.

Last year, the Red Hawks varsity and junior varsity squads were top teams in the city. The varsity team won its division and then the city title — the school’s first Division A championship — after a 3-2 win over perennial powerhouse Tottenville High School of Staten Island.

But despite the junior varsity team also winning its division, they’ve come up short in the playoffs, and were routed two years ago by Tottenville.

Jenasez Alves

Alves, who was on that team, was promoted from the junior varsity team this year and is looking for payback. She is determined to help the varsity team win back-to-back titles and hopes to repay the squad from Staten Island in the process. Likewise, other fresh faces on the Red Hawks are trying to earn their stripes to defend the team’s city title.

“I just want to see how everything plays out,” Alves said after a game against the John Bowne Wildcats on Monday, April 7, “and with this team this year, if we will be able to fill in the shoes of last year’s [team].”

With her motivation, Alves is shocking even her coach. She is currently batting .632, and Alves went 3-for-4 on Monday with two triples and three RBIs, helping the Red Hawks to a 15-0 shutout over the Wildcats (1-4 PSAL).

“Jena is a totally different ball player, she has come a long way with a lot of hard work,” head coach Marco Migliaccio said. “We lost a lot of big players, but she stepped up. This is an unexpected surprised.”

The Red Hawks (8-0 PSAL) are powered by many seniors from the championship team, including all-star Brittany Rodriguez, who has lead the A division in hits and batting average for the past two years. Rodriguez, the team’s ace, also led the league in strikeouts (162) and wins (15) in 2012.

But behind the upperclassmen are two dangerous freshmen who bypassed the junior varsity team. Freshman infielder Lizul Portugal, who is already a regular starter, is batting .704 in 27 at bats with five homers — good enough to be in the top of the A division in both catergories. Besides eyeing another title, Portugal will learn from Rodriguez and the other seniors about how to lead the team beyond this season.

“Brittany has been everything over the years,” Migliaccio said. “It helps [Portugal] a lot. Brittany really had nobody to look up to, but [Portugal] has a year to watch Brittany and look up to her.”

 

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