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Shaking off the stigma: Adams wins second

For several seasons, the John Adams softball team has had stellar records comparable to Queens powerhouses Bayside, Francis Lewis and Cardozo. But because the Spartans played in a division considered weak, they rarely received the same respect as their counterparts from northeast Queens.

Until now.

A day after beating Townsend Harris, the Spartans defeated Cardozo, longtime considered an elite program, 7-4, at Linnaeus Park in Bayside Tuesday.

Just two days into the new elite ‘A’ league, which features the top teams from last year’s three divisions, Adams is already 2-0.

“Coming in from that league we have a stigma,” said John Adams coach Tom Maher. “I feel we’re on a crusade because coming out of that division, people think we stink.”

A major reason for Adams’ early success can be found on the mound in senior hurler Francesca Romano, a transfer from St. Francis Prep, who was also the star of the Adams basketball team.

Romano had 13 strikeouts, including eight in a row in the early innings, walked just two and scattered three hits to improve to 4-0.

“I hate walking people,” said Romano, who has 27 strikeouts in the Spartans’ two league wins. “I’ve been a pitcher since I was little and I never have more than four or five walks per game. It’s just something I’ve grown up with, this drive to win.”

Natasha Kirkland also has that drive to win, and showed it with a lead-off triple to right field to start a three-run fifth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie for Adams (4-0, 2-0 Queens A).

“I was kind of nervous, but I just got a good connection,” said Kirkland, a senior centerfielder who was 2-for-3 with one RBI.

Kirkland scored on Daneisha Lloyd’s sacrifice fly to center after Romano was called out for batter’s interference on an attempted bunt. After Rita Limitone singled to left, Tabitha Sabater reached on an error — one of Cardozo’s five in the game.

With runners at the corners, Michelle Petrosino came up with a clutch two-run bloop single down the right field line to put the Spartans in front, 5-2.

Cardozo (2-3, 0-2) rallied in the bottom of the sixth, capitalizing on three Adams errors, with two runs on Stefany Weingart’s double to left center to get within one, 5-4. But errors again hurt the Judges as Adams scored two runs in the top of the seventh on two errors to regain their three-run cushion.

“Not one girl is playing the same position as last year,” said Cardozo coach Larry Alberts. “We didn’t play well and Adams played much better than us. It’s been a long time since we were 0-2, but last year we lost two of our first three and by the end of the year we were in first.”

Springfield Gardens 18, August Martin 4. Kerry-Ann Haughton went 4-for-4 with three homers and went the distance, striking out nine for Springfield Gardens (3-2, 1-0 Queens I-B).

Bryant 7, Cardozo 6. Jessica Santiago was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Sandy Tejada scored the winning run on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh inning for Bryant (1-0 Queens A).

John Adams 7, Townsend Harris 5. Romano struck out 14 and Sabater added an RBI-single to cap a four-run sixth inning for the Spartans.

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

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