Peninsula Battle Heads To The Diamond
It is the baseball series that Beach Channel and Far Rockaway have circled on the calendar all year.
There are many things at stake when the Dolphins (8-1) and the Seahorses (7-2) battle at Far Rockaway on Monday and Beach Channel on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Far Rockaway won against their rivals for the first time in years with a 10-8 win on May 4, 2004. On May 6, Beach Channel came back and won 6-3 on the road to split the series.
Probable starters in the two games could be Charlie Novak and sophomore Daniel Rodriguez for Beach Channel. The broken thumb in the non-throwing hand of Far Rockaway starting pitcher Felipe Santos (2-0, 1.40 ERA) has knocked him out for the year. Pitchers Michael Howard and Hairo Perez will have to pick up the slack.
The winning hasn’t stopped for Beach Channel this season as they recently tied for first place in the PSAL South Queens B Division with Van Buren. With almost the entire team returning, there is a consensus that a return to the championship is highly possible.
“I think it’s a good barometer for Kenny (Far Rockaway head coach Ken Hernandez) and his team on how they fare against us,” Kazalski said. “We got to play the ball the way we’re capable of playing.”
The Seahorses have developed a teamwide chemistry so far in their first nine games. They’ve taken care of business in defeating lowly teams such as Campus Magnet and Hillcrest. Making the playoffs has been the battle cry that Coach Hernandez has instilled in the team from day one.
“I have a strong shot that we’ll make the playoffs. We’re coming close. If we could do that, then why don’t we go for the division,” Hernadez said. “That should be motivation for us. We can compete but it’s a matter of us doing it.”
Players on both sides expressed their thoughts on the upcoming peninsula battle:
Raul Marrero- Far Rockaway catcher/pitcher (.538, 4 HR 15 RBI), senior:
“It (the series) means a lot because last year we know could beat them and to see them at Shea Stadium, it got to us because we know we could have been there,” Marrero says of Beach Channel reaching the PSAL B championship in June of 2004.
“Last year everyone was worrying about their stats and stuff. We just got to work harder. We thought we had it easy last year. We’re playing like a team this year. If we beat Channel, then maybe we think we can be that club that can get up there.”
Ben Deleon- Beach Channel shortstop (.379, 1 HR, 8 RBI), junior:
“For us it was a shock,” Deleon explains of last year’s regular season loss to Far Rockaway. “Last year it was a bunch of errors and we gave up like 8 runs.
“I’ve been looking on the internet to see how they’re doing. They’ve been blowing out teams but we can’t go thinking like we did last year because we lost. I been on the varsity team since my freshman year and this is the game I’ve always been waiting for.”
Lemonte Attles- Beach Channel outfielder/pitcher (.583, 3-0 .95 ERA), senior:
“I don’t think Far Rock can beat us. We’re disciplined that we know we can beat them and we work hard. They beat us for the first time (2004) in a lot of years. It was funny to me.”
Anthony Nimmons- Far Rockaway outfielder (.500, 11 SB), senior:
“I’ve been playing on the varsity for four years. Every time we play them, it’s intense and it’s exciting to play the game of baseball because I love it, so Beach Channel I can’t wait for,” Nimmons said.
“As long as the team chemistry keeps going, we can make it the playoffs. We sweep Beach Channel, it would be a blessing because we would be 9-2. We need hard work and dedication and discipline to do it.”