The PSAL baseball season came o a swift and sudden end for all the Queens schools participating in the A league playoffs this week, without a single team advancing past the second round.
This season was a far cry from two years ago, when the John Adams Spartans lay claim to the coveted crown. But this season mirrors so many during the past decade, as the borough struggled to compete against the citys elite.
Perhaps the best chance Queens seemed to have, at least from this perspective, was with the Francis Lewis Patriots and pitcher Jonathan Lewis, who had demonstrated time and again that he is the premier hurler in the borough. And, as you all know, pitching wins championships.
But the Patriots were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Though they had won the Queens III title the first team in the past 12 years to capture the crown besides the Cardozo Judges they were seeded just No. 11 out of the field of 32, meaning a tough first round game against No. 22 Beach Channel.
Head coach Randy James went with his ace for the first game and Lewis delivered, as expected, as the Patriots edged the Dolphins 3-2 to escape a first-round upset.
Of course, that meant trouble in the second round, which was played just the next day against Grand Street Campus, 5-1 winners over Port Richmond in its first playoff game.
And just like that, the Patriots season came to an unceremonious end. Despite its division crown and numerous season successes, with Lewis on the bench, the team simply could not do the job, falling 12-2.
The Patriots were not the highest seed to come out of Queens. That distinction fell to Adams, the No. 4 team and winners of Queens I with a 13-1 record. And they looked that good too in the first round, routing Telecommunications, 14-4. But their fate would be similar to that of Lewis.
In the second round, facing off against the Lincoln Railsplitters, the Spartans offense, which seemed do dominant in their opening round game, was lifeless, losing 4-0.
Cardozo was Queens next highest seed and, like Francis Lewis, the Judges had little trouble in the opening round, shutting out Stuyvesant, 6-0, behind the pitching of their ace, Danny Rosenbluth. But throwing their best pitcher in the first round proved costly again.
The Judges were blanked by Madison in the second round, 4-0, again prematurely ending the season for a team that has consistently been among the best in the borough from more than a decade, but never seems to do much damage against citywide competition.
This has been a problem for Queens for years. For whatever reason, the borough simply has trouble stepping up against the best the city has to offer. Adams win two years ago was as well-deserved as it was surprising, considering Queens annual frustration come playoff time.
These three teams were the best chance for Queens, though nine teams in all made the A playoffs. Newtown, Aviation, Edison, Bayside, Bowne and Beach Channel never made it out of the first round, nor were they expected to.
Newtown was seeded highest of the remaining five teams, No. 14, and seemingly had the best chance to move forward. But New Dorp quickly put an end to that idea, dominating the Pioneers, 11-0.
Then there was No. 22 Beach Channel, which lost to Lewis, followed by No. 26 Aviation. Facing off against No. 7 Washington, a quick and merciless end was expected for the Flyers, but they certainly gave their opponents a run for their money, losing 3-2.
The final three seeds out of the 32 were all from Queens, No. 30 Bowne, No. 31 Bayside and No. 32 Edison. Of those teams, only Bowne was competitive in its opening round loss, losing to No. 3 Monroe, the defending city champions, in extra innings on a bases-loaded walk.
Bayside was summarily dismissed 11-0 by No. 2 Lehman and Edison stood little chance against top-seeded Tottenville, which dispatched the Inventors, 11-1.
Adding insult to injury for these teams is that the city championship is being held this year at Shea Stadium. When a champ is crowned this season, it will be crowned in Queens.
There is hope of a champion still in the PSAL. Despite August Martin and Jamaica both being eliminated in the first round, both Forest Hills and Flushing advanced in the B bracket, keeping hope alive that a title of some kind will belong to the borough.
Forest Hills, the No. 3 seed and defending B champs, topped Automotive in the opening round, 8-3, with No. 6 Gompers standing in its way of an appearance in the semifinals. Flushing, the No. 15 seed, stunned No. 2 Truman, 10-2, and had No. 5 MLK on tap in the second.
One could only hope that Queens can salvage some respect by winning the B. I dont know why the borough seems to come up short so often on the diamond, I just know that winning makes for better copy.
Some teams have to lose, that is true. Its just a shame that Queens baseball teams seem to do the majority of it in the postseason.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2001 Community News Group
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