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Do Forest Hills, Flushing still belong in ‘B’ league?

Should the Forest Hills and Flushing baseball teams still be in the PSAL B division? Their coaches say yes but the majority of Queens coaches disagree.

“I give the PSAL credit, they’re trying to make improvements but this is an important issue,” said Queens Vocational coach Rob Schimenz. “Maybe more important than some other stuff.”

Both Forest Hills and Flushing have been solid B division teams the last three years. Last year the Red Devils went 14-4 and lost in the ‘B’ title game to Chelsea at Shea Stadium. It was Flushing’s third straight year in the playoffs, including a semifinal berth in 1999.

Forest Hills was 15-1 last year, one season after winning the ‘B’ title game. The Rangers have also been to the playoffs for three years straight.

“They’ve clearly been a solid team for three years,” Schimenz said of Forest Hills. “If they’re up to ‘A’ skill level, that’s where they should be.”

PSAL baseball commissioner Bob Pertsas asked both teams if they wanted to move up to the A division before the year and each coach declined.

While he admits his team isn’t on the same level as other teams in his division, like second-year program Renaissance and first-year team Robert F. Wagner, Marty Finkelstein doesn’t think his Forest Hills team, which lost its opener 6-0 to Bryant, is an ‘A’ division group either.

“When we won the championship a couple of years ago, we were a B division team with an A division pitcher [Matt Rigotti],” he said. “We still are [a B division team]. We can’t match up man to man physically. We have one player returning from his position last year. We can’t compete in the A division.”

First-year Flushing co-coach Charles Rexer also doesn’t believe his team has the talent to compete in the A division, despite playing in the prestigious Monroe tournament two weeks ago and holding A powerhouses Lehman and Cardozo at bay before losing both games.

“Last year we were a 15th seed out of 16 teams, that doesn’t tell me we should be in the A division,” Rexer said. “We had a great run last year. We clicked at the right time and rode a horse of a pitcher [graduated Kevin Jenkins]. To say we should have jumped to the A this year is premature.”

The PSAL indicated another successful season for both teams might mean a forced promotion. However Finkelstein suggests adding a C division — similiar to the PSAL football alignment — which would be for teams with smaller enrollment who are just starting out, like Renaissance, Arts and Business, Robert F. Kennedy and Robert Wagner, and leave teams like Flushing and Forest Hills in the B division.

“I’m in favor of anything that increases competition and gets closer to parity,” Rexer said. “It’s better for the kids to play competitive baseball.”

“We shouldn’t compete against schools with 4,000 student enrollment,” added Renaissance coach Ed Chilgren, whose team lost to Forest Hills 35-0 last year. “It’s not feasible. We don’t have the resources to compete.”

John Adams 9, Long Island City 0. It’s been three years, but John Adams (12-5-1, Queens West A) finally played its first home Monday. Kervin King led the way with a one-hitter, striking out eight.

Bayside 3, Van Buren 2. Anthony McCarty went the distance, scattering four hits while striking out nine and walking two to lead Bayside (7-3, 1-0 Queens East A). Carl Freda drove in Jason Espinal to put the Commodores ahead, 3-0 in the fifth inning. Van Buren (0-1 Queens East A) got within 3-2 on Jason Diaz’s two-run single in the sixth.

John Bowne 7, Edison 3. Marc Jusino opened the scoring for the Wildcats with an RBI-double in the third inning. Bowne (1-0 Queens East A) broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Edison is 0-1 in Queens East A.

Grover Cleveland 6, Aviation 5. Chris Diaz led Cleveland (1-0 Queens West A) with two triples and two RBIs.

Townsend Harris 8, Jamaica 7. Emmanuel Smith’s bases-loaded double drove in two runs in the sixth inning to give Townsend Harris (1-0 Queens Central B) an 8-4 lead. Chris Fuchs went seven innings, striking out seven, to get the win for the Hawks.

Francis Lewis 12, Richmond Hill 0. Joseph Silva had three RBIs and tossed a five-inning shutout for the Patriots (4-1, 1-0 Queens East A).

Bryant 6, Forest Hills 0. Hedison Baez went 2-for-3 and tossed a shutout in the Owls first game in the B division. Bryant improved to 5-2-1, 1-0 in Queens North B).

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

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