BCHS Surprises Grand Street Campus
By Elio Velez
The cold, windy winds were howling from Jamaica Bay, the field was a hard surface which contained no grass and they could not have chosen a more formidable opponent to begin the season.
Grand Street Campus, the defending Queens West "A' champions last year, was shut down this day on the gritty pitching from the Dolphins' Daniel Rodriguez. The senior pitcher held Grand Street Campus to five runs in 6 and 1/3 innings as the Dolphins won 7-5.
It was a nice welcome to the 'A' Division for Beach Channel after moving up from the PSAL 'B' Division.
Though it took five minutes after the conclusion of game to realize the magnitude of the win, it wouldn't have been possible without an effective performance from Rodriguez.
With the Dolphins up 7-4 in the top of the sixth, Rodriguez walked three batters to load the bases.
The Dolphins players' teeth could be seen chattering from the cold but also from nervousness.
But Rodriguez, pitching with short sleeves, ignored the cold and got down to business. In striking out Felix Marte and getting Nestor Bussi to weakly ground out to Rodriguez, who pumped his fist as he threw to first base to complete the inning.
"That's the best I've seen him since my freshman year," said teammate Omar Artsen. "The old Danny would have walked that guy. But the new Danny has gotten stronger and he got them out."
Head coach Tom Kazalski also raved about his starting pitcher's performance. Rodriguez didn't feel the same way but he'll take the victory.
"I was trying to get out of that inning. It was tough. He's (Artsen) right about that," Rodriguez said. "I was getting tired already in that inning and I just said to myself let me get out of this."
Grand Street Campus most notably graduated 6 foot 10 pitching stud Dellin Betances, who signed for a million dollars after being drafted in the eighth round last spring.
The Wolves starting pitcher Felizx Marte couldn't recreate Betances' form on the mound against the Dolphins. Stefon Polius hit a grand slam in the bottom of the second to Beach Channel up 4-1. But Polius day wasn't complete. When Rodriguez tired in the top of the seventh, Polius was called in relief.
With a runner on first base and two outs, Polius struck out Luis Hiraldo on an 2-2 fastball to end the game.
"I didn't think I was going to come in. The coach said before the inning to get ready," Polius said. "I got a duty to perform. I threw a fastball and I hit the spot."
Head coach Tom Kazalski is certainly happy even if he warns at times that his team may not be whole for select games this season. Some of his players like Rodriguez are committed to working to pay senior dues. Others may have to take care of academic obligations and might lead to some absences.
And the teams he'll face like John Adams, William C. Bryant and Aviation are top Queens "A' programs.
"I'm happy. We'll take a 'W' aainst a good team. It's a big plus for the team," Kazalski said. "I just hope it's not going to go to their head."