Rockaway Cadets 10 Advance To Championship
The Cadets 10 baseball team fought their way to the finals of the NY Travel Baseball – Cub American division by finishing 1-1 in the round robin portion of the playoffs. The 6-5 Cadets finished third during the regular season and advanced to the playoffs along with the 13-0 Bonnies Braves and 9-4 SFX Huskies.
The playoffs began with the Bonnies edging the Cadets 5-2 in a hard-fought defensive battle. The Bonnies then defeated the Huskies 16-6. That left the Cadets and Huskies to fight it out for the remaining spot in the championship. In another tense defensive struggle, the Cadets prevailed 6-1. All three games took place last Saturday at Fort Tilden.
In the Cadets’ first game, the Bonnies defense shone early with two good plays. But James Resker lined a two out single to left field and Thomas Resker followed that with a line drive into the left-center gap for a run scoring double as brother James raced home.
The Bonnies applied their usual pressure and scored 2 in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead 2-1. A one out infield hit followed by 2 stolen bases and a double tied the game. Then another stolen base and a ground out brought in the go ahead run. Shortstop Daniel Green then showed the Cadet defense was up to the Bonnies’ challenge by backhanding a grounder in the third base hole and throwing to first for the final out of the inning.
Pitching and defense took over from there. In the top of the second Jack Casey led off with a solid shot to right but was thrown out at first on a strong toss from the right fielder. Cadet right fielder Donato Somerville responded with the same play on the Bonnies lead off hitter in the bottom of the inning.
After a single and a stolen base, Cadet pitcher Thomas Resker recorded a strikeout and pop to first baseman Casey to end the inning. In the third, Somerville stroked a two out single and stole second but was stranded there when Green’s second hard hit ball of the game was turned into the third out by the Bonnies’ shortstop.
The Cadets defense really came through in the Bonnies’ half of the inning. Tom Resker flew off the mound and his scoop and throw followed by Casey’s stretch at first nailed the speedy runner. That left a runner on third base with one out.
When Tom Resker’s pickoff attempt eluded third baseman James Resker, the runner took off for home. James quickly retrieved the ball and threw home where catcher Jack Allen snared it and flipped to Tom covering the plate for the tag. Centerfielder Brian MacDonald followed that with a tumbling catch of a line drive for the third out and the score remained 2-1.
But baseball showed itself to be a game of inches in the fourth inning, as a ground ball just got past Green’s reach at shortstop, and line drives just in front of leftfielder Phil Benoit and MacDonald in center resulted in 3 runs for the Bonnies. The Cadets continued to play excellent defense in the bottom of the inning, however, as they recorded a double play as MacDonald snared a deep line drive in center and then doubled off the runner.
Down 5-1 in the last inning with two outs and no one on, the Cadets put another scare into the powerhouse Bonnies as they refused to quit fighting. Green lashed a line drive double down the left field line and scored on MacDonald’s ground single to center. Mac- Donald then quickly stole his way to third. James Resker kept fouling off pitches in a marvelous nine pitch at bat but, with brother Thomas on deck as the tying run, his line drive to left headed directly to the left fielder for the final out.
The Cadets then had a chance to rest as the Bonnies and Huskies battled in the second playoff game. The 16-6 Bonnies victory set the stage for the final game of the afternoon between the Huskies and Cadets with the winner meeting the Bonnies again in the championship game.
The Cadets could not generate any threats over the first two innings but Resker’s pitching, striking out 5 in the first 3 innings, kept the score at 1-0.
The Cadets finally got on the board in the third when Daniel Sumrall launched a huge line drive to left for a double and scored on Brian MacDonald’s base hit to center. Somerville was thrown out at the plate on the play trying to score the go-ahead run. James Resker’s fly ball to center with runners on second and third was caught for the third out on a nice play by the Huskies centerfielder to end the rally.
The Cadets defense kept the game at 1-1 over the next two innings. In the fourth MacDonald made another fine running catch in center and shortstop Green gloved a grounder up the middle to end the inning. In the fifth, with a runner on third and one out, the Huskies attempted to take the lead on a squeeze play but catcher Thomas Resker pounced on the ball in front of the plate and tagged out the runner while expertly blocking the plate.
The Cadets finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. With one out Somerville singled and stole his way to third. When he was unable to tag on Green’s line drive to center, it looked like it would still be tied going into the final inning. But MacDonald singled for the game-winning hit and that was followed by James Resker’s single, Tom Resker’s 2 run triple, Phil Benoit’s walk and Jack Casey’s 2 run single for a 6-1 lead. The Cadets closed it out in the sixth on James Resker’s seventh strikeout and slick plays by Matt McCabe at third, Green at short and Casey at first.
The championship between the Bonnies and Cadets was scheduled to have taken place the next day, but Monday’s rain forced cancellation of the game. It will be rescheduled for later in the week.
In the meantime, Rockaway gets to root for 3 potential champions as the Rockaway Express (Cub National) and Rockaway Renegades (Pee-Wee) joined the Cadets in playing for their divisional championship in NY Travel Baseball.