Smith’s Feet Lead To BC Win
A two day baseball drama unfolded between Beach Channel and Environmental Studies last week. In a second round playoff game that had suspense, intrigue and delays was finally decided by the feet of Dolphins outfielder Aaron Smith.
The game was resumed last Wednesday as a 5-5 tie in the top of the eighth in extra innings. Darkness suspended the game the previous day at Beach Channel. When it resumed, Smith decided to take it upon himself to break the tie.
Smith, who reached on a single, got the green light to run. Stealing second, the senior subsequently tried to swiped third base but catcher Joshua Leon sailed his throw to left field.
Smith got up, raced to the plate and scored as Beach Channel celebrated a wild 6-5 victory in Central Park to advance to the third round of the PSAL B playoffs today at 3:30 p.m.
Once the game resumed, head coach Tom Kazalski told Smith that he would receive the green light to cause havoc on the basepaths.
“Coach told me if I got a basehit just to steal,” Smith said. “If I get on, it doesn’t matter what I do. It’s just a blessing. That’s all I can say.”
The plan seemed to work out well as his team, who will face the top seed Graphic Communications at Moe Finkelstein Field in Brooklyn, finished the game in 15 minutes.
“I just wanted him on and he could go wild. The catcher wasn’t a strong thrower and I knew it. I wanted to challenge him and it was a great opportunity,” Kazalski said.
“He threw the ball away and that was it. With his speed, that catcher couldn’t get him.”
Pitcher Daniel Rodriguez pitched five innings of relief in two days to get the win. He got out of a jam with two runners on as he struck out Nicholas Lacativa and picked off Christopher Pena at second to end the inning.
Head coach Tom Kazalski was marveled by the pitching performance of his sophomore pitcher.
“With men on base, Danny rises to the occasion and he loves it. I don’t remember an inning that he doesn’t have a runner on base. I don’t feel he’s in the zone, until there’s baserunners on,” Kazalski said.
That the Dolphins finished as the home team at Environmental’s field was only one of a crazy series of events that started on a mixup of schedules by the PSAL.
The PSAL originally scheduled Beach Channel to host a softball and baseball playoff game a half hour apart. Since the players would mix together on both fields, both games could not be played.
It was decided that the Dolphins-Bronx H.S. of Science softball playoff game would commence first at 4 p.m.. That contest did not end until 6 p.m and once the baseball game started, Beach Channel’s quickly got off to a bad start.
Dolphins’ pitcher Charlie Novak was touched up by Environmental as they gained 5-2 lead into the fourth. A towering two run homer by leadoff hitter Ben Deleon cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom half.
But as the clock struck 8 p.m., there were roughly 15 minutes of daylight left and it gave the Dolphins the sense of urgency to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh, catcher Keron Carter reached first with a single and stole second base.
With two outs, third baseman Rubi Ramos saved Beach Channel’s season with a RBI double down the rightfield line to tie the game at 5. Ernie Reyes struckout to end the inning as the clock struck 8:15.
Ramos believed wholeheartedly that the season wouldn’t end at his home field.
“I told these guys the season wasn’t over. This is my last year and I didn’t want to leave like that. Coach told me to wait for the pitch and try not to kill it and win the game.”