Daniel Corona knew despite the high stakes nothing was different in this game than the rest of the season.
“I couldn’t lose my composure,” the Queens Vocational right-hander said after giving up two runs in the third. “If I did, the whole team would have crumbled. They are dependent on me as their ace, as their senior pitcher.”
Corona certainly did his part.
He scattered six hits, struck out seven and walked just one, but the third-seeded Tigers’ bats couldn’t muster enough run support as they fell 2-1 to No. 1 South Bronx in the PSAL Class B baseball championship game Friday at MCU Park. Queens Vocational won the title in 2007.
“Danny is an emotional kid and he can get the team cranked up,” Tigers Coach Robert Schimenz said. “There has really been no time this year where Danny’s emotions cost us.”
The third was the only frame he was hit hard, allowing three straight, two-out extra base hits, including an RBI double by Danauris Baez and a booming triple to pitcher Kevin Victoriano that brought home the second run for South Bronx (21-0). Corona stranded two runners in the fourth and picked off Rodriguez in the fifth to erase a leadoff single. He began mixing in more curves and tried to work away more.
Queens Vocational (19-2) scored its lone run in the top of the sixth on a double by Jose Monegro, who Schimenz said blossomed this year. A wild pitch eventually brought him home to make it 2-1. Victoriano stifled them all day, striking out 11, including the game’s final batter and allowed just two hits. The Tigers scouted his curve ball, but struggled with it.
“We didn’t handle it and we have a great batting team,” Schimenz said.
His team, which includes nine seniors, grew up playing together and really matured as this season wore on to reach the finals. Schimenz said there is talk of the Tigers moving to the ‘A’ league, but he believes they are fine where they are with a bulk of their talent graduating, crediting the kids with how hard they worked to get the program to this point.
“It was surreal,” Corona said. “Getting here was a huge journey and very difficult for me and my team. We all worked together and helped out and then we noticed we were in the championship game. It didn’t feel like it. I was like, ‘Wow. We made it.’”
©2012 Community News Group
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