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Cardinals come up just short at World Series

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One bad inning. That’s all that separated the Long Island Cardinals 15- and 16-year-old team from a semifinal berth in the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series in Northville, Mich. late last month.

But instead of dwelling on what might have been, Cardinals head coach Raymond Eng is pleased with the accomplishments of his young team.

“It was something that was a great experience for the kids, not just in terms of playing very competitive baseball” Eng said. “It was amazing how far we got. I was more than pleased.”

The difference between a semifinal berth and fifth place in the World Series was the team’s sixth inning against the Lexington Dixie from Kentucky, who broke a 4-4 tie with nine unanswered runs that sealed the Cardinals fate.

The team ended up the World Series with a 3-1 record, tied with two other teams. But because of that sixth inning, the Cardinals lost the tie-breaker and was the odd team out.

To get to the NABF World Series, the Cardinals had to come from behind to win the Regional in Hartford County, Md.

After dropping a tough 5-3 game to Old Mill from Maryland, the Cardinals got a shot at revenge in the championship game. And they made the most of the opportunity as, led by Queens natives Joe Paternoster, Danny Rosenbluth and Frank Terzo, the Cardinals routed Old Mill, 8-3, to win the Regional.

Terzo, a Whitestone resident from Holy Cross, was spectacular at the plate, batting .692 (9-for-13) to break a five-year old NABF batting record. Rosenbluth, a Cardozo standout, batted .444 while allowing no earned runs and only four hits on the mound. Paternoster, who plays at Bayside High School, batted .313.

“We were upset because we could’ve played a lot better than we did and we knew we could have beat them,” Eng said. “We felt very confident [in the second game]. We knew them and we wanted a second chance to redeem ourselves.”

The Cardinals got off on the right foot to open the Regional, defeating the Carroll County Rangers from Maryland, 11-1 on July 20. Paternoster was 2-for-3 with two walks, Charlie Bahamonde was 2-for-4 with a triple and Charlie Foster was 3-for-3 with a double and on the mound allowed three hits, fanned eight and allowed just one earned run to earn the win.

In the second game, Rosenbluth was superb on the hill, striking out 12 while allowing just two hits as the Cardinals edged Bushwich Moose from Western Maryland, 2-1.

Bahamonde and Frank Coppola led the offense while Bayside resident Jason Espinal provided the game-saving play with two out in the top of the seventh when he threw a perfect strike to catcher John Munoz to nail the potential tying runner at the plate to end the game.

The Cardinals continued to roll in the third game, defeating host Hartford County Sox, the top-ranked team in the Regional, 6-3. Tommy Reo, who played despite a broken finger in the Regional, had three RBIs and Matt Raimo and Maria combined to stymie the Sox batters.

Long Island dropped their first game of the Regional, 5-3, before returning to capture the title, 8-3, later that day.

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

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