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Martin’s Plair blanks Jamaica for 10-0 voctory

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August Martin baseball coach Paul Herman gave some simple but sound advice to sophomore pitcher Brandon Plair before the Falcons’ first-place showdown at Jamaica last Thursday.

“I told him, if you don’t walk anybody, we win,” Herman said.

Plair did just that. He had masterful control of his pitches, including not one, but three nasty curve balls that kept Jamaica batters off balance all game. He struck out 12 in a five-hit 10-0 win over the Beavers as the Falcons clinched their third consecutive Queens B-I title.

A week ago it looked like Martin wasn’t even in title contention, but the Falcons reeled off four wins in five days — including two over previously unbeaten Jamaica by a combined score of 20-0.

“We knew when we won that first game at our place that meant we would have the ability to beat them again,” Plair said. “It’s great that we clinched first place and have a home playoff game, but we have to win now.”

August Martin (10-3) spotted Plair a three-run lead before he even threw a pitch as the Falcons capitalized on walks, wild pitches and some errors by a young Beavers squad.

“I don’t think the final score reflected how we played,” said Jamaica coach George Politis. “I’m proud of them. Last year we were 4-8 and we have a lot of 14- and 15-year-olds who have come a long way.”

The Falcons added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as senior shortstop Jerome Arrington broke out of a season-long slump in a big way with a run-scoring triple. He later scored on a bases-loaded walk to give Martin a 5-0 lead. Arrington, the quarterback on the Falcons’ football team, went 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.

“The guys kept telling me I have to step up and finally I did it in a big game,” he said. “It felt good to finally start to hit the ball. I’ve been waiting all season.”

The five-run lead was more than enough for Plair who gave up singles to lead off the second, third and fourth innings but battled back to retire the side in each inning. Jamaica (9-4) threatened in the sixth inning as Aslyn Millington doubled to left-center and moved to third on Alex Villamar’s ground out. But Plair fanned both Omar Birchwood and Ruben Santana to get out of danger.

“As the game goes on, I get stronger,” Plair said. “I gave up a couple of hits, but nothing too bad.”

Plair helped out his own cause with a two-run home run to right field to cap a four-run sixth inning as the Falcons extended their lead to 9-0. Martin ended the game in the top of the seventh as Arrington led off the inning with an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on an error and scored on Nkosi Wiggins’ ground out to short.

John Adams 10, Richmond Hill 0. Johnny Lluberes went 4-for-4, increasing his streak to 11 hits in his last 11 league at-bats. Xavier Carpio belted a grand slam and Kervin King picked up the win, striking out five in four innings for the Spartans (28-5-1, 12-1-1 Queens A-I).

Newtown 12, Bowne 0. Miguel Maria tossed a no-hitter, striking out nine for his second straight shutout. Jairo Gutierrez went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored for the Pioneers (11-8-1, 9-4 Queens A-II).

Francis Lewis 7, Van Buren 6. Buoyed by a five-run fifth inning, the Patriots defeated the VeeBees to remain tied with Cardozo atop Queens A-III. Jonathan Hecko’s RBI triple in the seventh inning was the game-winning hit for Lewis (17-5, 10-3), which owns the tie breaker with the Judges.

Cardozo 7, Edison 2. Mike Mastrogiovanni had 11 strikeouts and had three hits and RBI and Jon Zengotita had a two-run home run for the Judges (16-5, 10-3 Queens A-III).

Aviation 5, LIC 3. Robert Cornejo went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and Mario Arthur gave up four hits and struck out five for Aviation (15-4, 9-4 Queens A-II), which is tied atop the division with Newtown.

Bayside 14, Hillcrest 1. Chaim Malka led the offensive charge for the Commodores, going 4-for-4 with two triples, a home run and seven RBIs while Anthony McCarty pitched a two-hitter, allowing no earned runs with eight strikeouts in five innings for Bayside (9-8-1, 7-5 Queens A-III).

Forest Hills 5, RFK 3. Kenny Vasquez had two hits and one RBI and came in to pitch the final two innings to get the save and Brett Cassidy had two RBIs for Forest Hills (18-6-1, 14-0 Queens B-II).

Grover Cleveland 8, Bryant 2. Ricky Perez and Al Decanio each tripled and had two RBIs for the Indians (14-10, 8-6 Queens A-II).

Townsend Harris 10, Queens Vocational 1. Mike Yirilli went the distance for the Hawks, striking out 11 and Matt Farina led the offensive charge with two RBIs for Harris (7-5 Queens B-II).

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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