2005-06-10 / Sports

Playoff Ride Ends For Beach Channel

By Elio Velez

Roger Rodriguez yelled to his teammates after the game that he would touch second base one last time. The senior second basemen walked slowly to the bag, touched it and walked away. It was the last time in his career Rodriguez and seven other seniors, would play a high school baseball game.

It was a disappointing end for the Dolphins’ attempt to return to the PSAL B championship as the #1 seeded Graphic Arts defeated the Dolphins 10-3 in a steady rain at Moe Finkelstein Field in Brooklyn. It was a dreary day all around for the Dolphins.

Pitching had been strong all season, but it faltered in the worst time possible for the Dolphins. Starter Jonathan Melendez could not get out of the first inning as three walks eventually led to two first inning runs for Graphic Arts.

The hitters failed to capitalize on chances to hang with the opposition. Beach Channel could not benefit from an opportunity to score with the bases loaded in the top of the first. With one out, Charlie Novak, who relieved Melendez on the mound, struck out. Ernie Reyes got under a 1-0 pitch and popped it up to end the inning

The frustration was evident on Reyes’ face all day as the senior had been battling tendonitis in his left knee for most of the playoffs. He doesn’t regard the injury as an excuse.

“We were definitely even matched teams. If we would have been better pitching we could have shut down and held them provided if we capitalized on our capabilities,” Reyes said. “Our hitting didn’t do it today.”

It’s an end of era for head coach Tom Kazalski as he sees the building blocks with players such as Reyes, Rubi Ramos departing due to graduation.

“We were flat. We didn’t come in with our ‘A’ game today. They’re disappointed but I told them we had a great season. We had one of the best seasons that I can remember.

It’s unfortunate it ended the way it did,” Kazalski said.

“These kids have been with me for three or four years and we’ve battled, kidded around with each other and we love each other.”

Reyes could have transferred to another school as his family moved last offseason to the Bronx. But he continued to pursue his dream of returning to the PSAL championship as the senior first baseman battled the pain and the travel.

He has no regrets.

“It didn’t bother me (the travel) because I’m coming to a school I like to be in and I liked the team that I’m playing with,” Reyes said.

“The biggest thing is definitely playing at Shea Stadium (PSAL 2004 title game). I never thought I’d be playing in a professional stadium until I came here to Beach Channel and I actually did it playing with a great team.”

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