2008-04-04 / Sports

Seahorses Rally Late In Victory Over Falcons

By Elio Velez

The Far Rockaway Seahorses. Photo By Elio Velez The Far Rockaway Seahorses. Photo By Elio Velez Far Rockaway baseball coach Thomas Telford tries to stress the fundamentals each day in practice.

He reminds his players that a victory doesn't just come from the result of the sweet sound of the crack of the wooden bat, which high school players must use this year in the PSAL.

Victory could happen the way that shortstop Walter Diaz demonstrated on Tuesday afternoon in extra innings against August Martin.

With the game tied and one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Diaz struck out on a pitch by Falcons pitcher Thomas Greyer.

With teammate Jose Diaz leaning off third base, Walter Diaz didn't react in disgust after the strikeout and walk back to the dugout.

As the ball bounced on the plate and got away from Falcons catcher Pablo Franco, Diaz sprinted to first base.

Emerson Morillo recorded the out after receiving the catcher's throw but as the same time, Jose Diaz streaked home with the winning run in am 8-7 victory for Far Rockaway.

Walter Diaz, who got the win in relief after Danzel Turner started and pitched six innings, caused the distraction with his hustle to first base.

With minutes of daylight left in the game, and the umpires threatening to suspend the game and resume it at a later date, Telford said the run came at the perfect time.

"Most of these ballplayers and it's just not my team, its any other team, he would just stand there and walk off the field," Telford said.

The game was a seesaw battle in which the Seahorses came back from a 4-1 deficit but lost a 7- 4 lead in the top half of the seventh inning. Far Rockaway improved their record to 2-2 in the PSAL Queens South B Division.

"Walter was the smart one being aggressive which forced them to throw and Jose would score. So it's heads up ballplaying."

Telford, a teacher at Frederic Douglas Academy VI, has plenty of high school baseball experience. Prior to his taking over the team in 2006, he was a junior varsity coach with the PSAL baseball powerhouse James Monroe Campus Eagles.

After two consecutive losing seasons, the plan is starting to pay off. His team has adopted his philosophy of preaching the fundamentals and incorporating a sense of confidence to achieve on the field.

Gregory Ibe, who made a sparkling diving catch at first base, is trying to erase what happened last year when his team had a 4-12 record.

"We have more experience than last year. We were coming off a losing year last year and this year we said we didn't want to lose anymore," Ibe said.

Turner, who gave a strong performance for six innings, said their first win, a comeback 7-6 win over Flushing High School, is convinced this year will be different.

"It's the motivation. This year, a lot of young players are striving and they're trying to win. We're more focused," Turner said. Time will tell on this year's squad. Hillcrest and Queens High School of teaching will be tough division foes and the Seahorses' pitching depth might be a concern later on.

But Telford will figure out those problems along the way while holding true to the philosophy that hard work does payoff. He's been imparting that since day one to the Seahorses and will continue to do so.

"All of the hard work we do off the field, people will never even see. These kids break their backs doing what ever I ask them to do," Telford said.

He believes the program will return to winning ways and hopefully stay that way for years to come.

"I'm trying to bring in the younger guys to be taught by these guys, the older guys, to learn how to play the game and be aggressive," Telford said.

"That what builds a community around here and hopefully the word will get out, and maybe these guys will try to get other kids involved the game and maybe the sport will come back here in Far Rockaway. I truly hope so."

Beach Channel fell to 0-3 (Queens West A Division) with a loss to John Adams, 19-2, on Wednesday afternoon.

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