Parra has a demeanor as soothing as a tranquilizer and his chiseled features suggest confidence, something Cardenas has leaned on throughout his career. Cardenas' security blanket was taken from him when Parra was sidelined during the last month of the season with a pulled left hamstring and Cardenas suffered. He lost twice to Long Island City and Grand Street Campus, and he threw meekly against Newtown in a game the Spartans struggled to win.But Friday, Cardenas and Parra were together again and the results were lovingly in favor of John Adams, which upset fourth-seeded Beacon, 4-3 in the second round of the PSAL 'A' playoffs in Central Park. No. 13 Adams (28-7) advanced to the quarterfinals to face George Washington while Beacon finished their season at 21-4. Cardenas, who plays summer league baseball with Parra on Youth Services, scattered six hits in a complete-game win. Perhaps the most poignant moment of the game came in the seventh inning when Cardenas ran into trouble. He surrendered two runs to make it a one- run game and Parra, sensing his old friend needed a push, jogged out to the mound to give him one. Cardenas, with the tying run on first, induced the next batter to pop up to end the game and the two friends celebrated another victory together. Nelson Cruz went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Adams."He told me to relax and to start doing the things that I have been doing all year," Cardenas said of the conversation he and Parra had. "I feel more comfortable when I'm pitching to Freddy. He's been catching for me since I was 13 and he knows how I feel in certain situations."Parra (3-for-4) offered Cardenas help of another kind. He drove in two runs in the game, one in the first inning when John Adams jumped out to a 3-0 lead. With the game seemingly in hand, Cardenas, a junior who pitched five games last season including a 5-1 victory over Richmond Hill in the second round of the playoffs, separated himself from his teammates. Behind his team's dugout was another dugout which was empty, and Cardenas used it as his own personal meditation chamber, sitting by himself to stay calm."I felt relaxed going back there," he said. "That was like a good luck charm, so I kept going back."An error by the Adams first baseman Emmanuel Liriano put a runner on first with two outs in the seventh. Then Beacon's Jeremy Flores doubled to center and 6-foot-5 third baseman Jake Rabinowitz drilled a grounder through the gap between third and shortstop that scored both runners to bring Beacon to within one run. Cardenas ran the count full against Jeremy Lopez and caused him to pop-up for the last out."I think they took our team a little lightly," said Parra, who is deciding between schools like Oklahoma, Florida and Texas. "I saw them before the game, and they were joking around. I saw them play in the Monroe tournament earlier this year, and they weren't acting like that."Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.
©2005 Community News Group
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