2009-05-22 / Sports

Playoff Bound Seahorses' Persistence Pays Off

By Elio Velez

There is a stark difference taking a look at Far Rockaway's varsity baseball starting lineup on March 27 and the one that took the Central Park North Meadow field on May 20 in the PSAL B playoffs.

The starting lineup that sparked a Far Rockaway 12-2 win over Campus Magnet had four starters that would not complete the whole season.

Coach Tom Telford couldn't be worried if the players that started the year on the roster left for various reasons.

All he was concerned about was guiding his remaining ten players to reach the dream that has eluded Far Rockaway for 4 years.

On May 20 against Gregorio Luperon High School, the Seahorses couldn't have been happier to finally qualify for the playoffs after four years.

Far Rockaway may have finished the regular season with only an 8-8 record. But it got them a ticket to the first round of the playoffs where the 31st seed Seahorses will have been glad to travel to Central Park to face the second seed Gregorio Luperon.

One by one, players left the team. Second baseman Lendward Crudup and right fielder Daniel Marc Sears left. According to Telford, infielders Marcus Stapleton and Lawrence Kiutt quit the team and utility player Tyquan Davis failed off.

The rest who remained never made any excuses. Telford has guided the team to the postseason after going 1- 15 campaign 2006 and consecutive seasons of 4-12. Making this year's playoffs was an achievement in perseverance by his team.

"It's ok. It shows the character in these kids. I told the ten who are left that I would take you kids in a heartbeat," Telford said.

"They didn't do anything to disgrace themselves or anything to disgrace this team. These guys are always there to help each other."

Telford is most happy some of his seniors, SS-P Walter Diaz (.553, 26 RBI), IF Gregory Ibe (.442, 11 SB) and IF Jonathan Alifonso (.317) have a chance to enjoy some success.

And he noticed improvement in players who have had to take on a bigger role. Junior Everett Harrison has excelled in his first year with the team hitting .459.

Ibe will be going this fall on a football scholarship to Sacred Heart University, a NCAA Division I school in the Northeast Conference.

I wanted to get in. I been here since were 1-15," Ibe said. "I know how it feels to lose and it's sweet that we made the playoffs."

Diaz will most likely take the mound against Luperon and says he will give it his all. "I'm going to go hard. It's all or nothing."

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