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Bayside Yanks end L.I. Cardinals’ streak with 3-2 win

A week of cruising and gleaming came to an abrupt end Monday, and the streaking Long Island Cardinals took that as a good sign.

“If we won every game, then it’ll be too easy,” said Long Island coach Craig Everett after a 3-2 loss to the Bayside Yankees Junior Americans stopped his team’s hot streak at Francis Lewis High School Monday evening. “That’s what we don’t want. We want to learn from mistakes, and we want good things to happen at the end of the season.”

The Cardinals (17-7-1, 9-3 FABL) — who hadwon seven of nine before the setback, including a combined no-hitter over Bayside on June 20 — had their ever-growing confidence trimmed some. The usually-solid squad committed a pair of costly errors, three overall, had a player picked off and wasted a strong showing from right-hander Charlie Foster.

“We played good enough tonight to beat any team in the league,” Everett said. “But it wasn’t good enough to beat this team.”

“It was a tough game, tough loss and definitely brings us down to earth,” said Foster, who surrendered three hits and struck out seven over 5.2 innings. “But this team knows how to bounce back.”

The loss becomes harder to take when you consider that the Yankees, who didn’t start their season until three weeks ago, didn’t need a hit to score their three runs.

Bayside (12-4, 9-2) came back from a 1-0 deficit in the third.

Eighth-place hitter Robert Boland and lead-off man Nick Derba worked free passes to set up the rally. Randy Belfiore then slapped a first-pitch fastball to center, which Kenny Bowers misplayed and hit off his knee to right fielder Jason Bonder to score the tying run.

With runners on the corners, Mike Testani hit a high chopper to shortstop Mike Rutcofsky, who threw to second for the force. A hustling Testani beat Charles Bahamonde’s throw to first and that put the Yankees ahead, 2-1.

The Cardinals tied the game at two on an RBI single by Rutcofsky in the bottom-half of the third. But Long Island gift-wrapped the decisive run for Bayside in the fifth.

After striking out Boland to start the inning, Foster got in trouble with consecutive walks to Tom Larkin and Derba. Foster got ahead of Belfiore, but lost control of his split finger for wild pitch, which advanced the runners into scoring position. A couple of pitches later, Belfiore crushed a fastball to left that was good enough to score Larkin with the eventual game-winning run.

“We walked a couple of guys, and they capitalized all the time,” Everett said.

The Yankees squandered chances to extend the lead in the later innings. They left runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the sixth and couldn’t score with the bases loaded in the seventh.

“I thought that was going to hurt us at the end,” Bayside coach Joe Kessler said.

Bayside right-hander John Franklino, who dispersed seven hits and walked two in a complete-game win, was helped out by two double-plays. He also escaped trouble in the fourth when Derba picked off Bowers on first and stranded runners in the fifth and sixth.

“He’s a seven-inning pitcher,” Kessler said. “He had good command and they were totally off-stride.”

“We took this team lightly after we no-hit them last week,” Foster said. “Now we know we should never do that.”

Long Island Cardinals 9, Westchester Wolfpack 3. Pete Giannakos pitched six strong innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits. Rutcofski went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Charlie Bahamonde went 2-for-3 in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday at Francis Lewis High School.

Long Island Cardinals 12, Westchester Wolfpack 1. James Conroy gave up one earned run in six innings, striking out two and walking four, and Bowers went 2-for-4 with a bases-clearing double and four RBIs in the nightcap. Jason Espinal went 2-for-3 with two walks, three stolen bases and one RBI and Jason Bonder went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.

Long Island Cardinals 1, Long Island Baymen 0. Robinson Reyes went the distance, striking out six and walking just three in a three-hit gem in the opener of a doubleheader at Baymen Field in Suffolk County Saturday. Bahamonde went 3-for-4 with one run scored and Jason Espinal went 2-for-3.

Long Island Cardinals 9, Long Island Baymen 3. Bonder went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and pitched six strong innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking one in the nightcap.

Long Island Cardinals 5, Long Island Tigers 3. Despite falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, Danny Rosenbluth came back strong to earn the complete game victory, striking out nine and walking two in the three-hitter Friday at Francis Lewis. Espinal went 1-for-3 with a double, RBI and a run scored.

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

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