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Cardozo clinches first Queens division title since 2001

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Larry Alberts wanted to play small ball against Townsend Harris and ace pitcher Cecilia Ehresman on Tuesday. So, the Cardozo coach decided to have leadoff batter Sandy Tomasik try to bunt her way on in the first inning.

Then he changed his mind.

“I was gonna have her bunt, but something said, let her swing,” Alberts said.

Good thing she did. Tomasik drilled the first pitch of the game for a home run and it set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Cardozo went on to win, 3−2, against Townsend Harris in Bayside to clinch its first PSAL Queens A−I title since 2001.

“I said before the season that I have the best team in Queens,” Alberts said. “They’re grown a lot since last year. We always made our own bad luck in the past.”

Not this year. Everything has gone right for Cardozo (15−0 Queens A−I) — even when they go wrong. Last week in practice, leftfielder Sara Meletis was hit in the face during a fly−ball drill and broke her nose. She returned Tuesday, but could only hit with a helmet adorned with a face cage. Gina Mingione, the team’s rightfielder, switched over to left and doubled off a Townsend Harris runner off first base during a crucial stretch.

“It’s been that kind of season,” Alberts said.

Third baseman Sam Mersten also got hit with a ball, in the temple, last week in practice, but she was back in the lineup against the Hawks. First baseman Anna Laboccetta continued a torrid stretch with a two−run home run off Ehresman. After slumping in the early part of the season, she has seven RBIs in her last three games.

“She is really hot now,” Alberts said. “Anna has been hitting the ball really hard.”

Junior windmiller Amanda Annicaro doesn’t throw the ball really hard, but she gets the job done most times. Against Harris (9−4), she gave up two runs on just four hits and struck out seven with one walk in seven innings.

“She throws strikes,” Alberts said. “She does what she has to. When she comes off the field, she always compliments her defense.”

When she came off the field Tuesday, the veteran Judges were division champs. They’ll have a great case for a top−five seed in the upcoming PSAL playoffs if they beat neighborhood Bayside on Wednesday at home.

“It felt great,” the coach said of clinching the division title. “They’ve really jelled over the last two years.”

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