Sections

Adams, Cardozo lead Queens in hunt for PSAL baseball title

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When the PSAL ‘A’ baseball seedings were announced Monday night, there were no Queens teams in the coveted top four spots. It didn’t matter to No. 5 John Adams or No. 9 Benjamin Cardozo, the borough’s two best hopes to win the city title on June 7 at Shea Stadium.

The PSAL baseball seeding committee convened on Monday evening to set the pairings for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ brackets. The top four teams in each division qualified for the postseason, but overall records, strength of schedule and, in some cases, head-to-head records determined the draw. First round action in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ opened this week at the site of the higher seeds.

The top four ‘A’ seeds are Lehman, defending champion Tottenville, Monroe and Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus, geographically challenged winners of the Queens West division. With strong pitching and solid hitting, John Adams and Cardozo each had brilliant regular seasons. Both teams hope their good fortunes continue in the postseason as they look to challenge the top teams.

“Seeding is overrated,” John Adams coach Glenn Beyer said. “Our goal is to win the city championship and that’s the bottom line.”

Adams let the Queens West division title slip away with losses to Grand Street and Cardozo to end the regular season, but the experienced Spartans are built for the playoffs. Senior pitchers Kervin King and Mark Rios, who missed most of the season with an injury, anchor a strong staff, while sweet-swinging Johnny Lluberes and Alex Cordero hit the ball hard.

Cardozo followed a similar pitching-and-hitting formula to run away with the Queens East division. Daniel Rosenbluth and Michael Lenzo anchor a tremendous staff, while hitters like Rosenbluth, Bernard Estevez and brothers Denis and Jack Medic help float the offense. Judges coach Pete Douglas feels his team is peaking at the right time and is looking forward to the postseason.

“It doesn’t really matter where we are seeded,” Douglas said. “We’ll have to beat the best to go all the way, anyway.”

Other borough teams with championship dreams are Francis Lewis (No. 23), Grover Cleveland (No. 26), Richmond Hill (No. 29) and Bayside (No. 30). Francis Lewis, Richmond Hill and Bayside all finished behind Cardozo in the Queens East. Cleveland finished in fourth in the Queens West behind Grand Street, Adams and Bushwick.

In the ‘B’, Queens Central champ Lane is the highest borough seed at No. 4. Chelsea, Automotive and South Bronx were the top three teams, respectively. The strength of Queens ‘B’ baseball is reflected in the rest of the pairings.

Flushing (No. 5) and William Bryant (No. 6) were slotted high as a result of the quality of play in the Queens North division, as was No. 12 Forest Hills. August Martin (No. 8), winners of the Queens South, Beach Channel (No. 12), Queens Vocational (No. 25), Hillcrest (No. 29) and Campus Magnet (No. 32) completed the ‘B’ field for Queens.

Second round action for the ‘A’ teams will take place on May 24, at the home site of the higher seeds. Second round action in the ‘B’ picks up two days later with the same home field set up. The quarterfinals will move to neutral sites on May 28 and May 31 for the ‘A’ and ‘B’, respectively.

Reach contributing writer Adam Martini by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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