Patriots earn No. 2 seed in PSAL softball playoffs

By Dylan Butler

In past years, Francis Lewis softball coach Judy McCleary complained, and rightfully so, about a perceived lack of respect while Queens foes Bayside and Cardozo enjoyed the glory.

But after a solid regular season, which saw the Patriots edge out Bayside for the Queens A crown, McCleary has nothing to grumble about as Francis Lewis is seeded second behind undefeated Tottenville for the upcoming PSAL ‘A’ playoffs.

Brooklyn’s James Madison is third, while Bayside, a team that has been to the PSAL semifinals the last four years, is seeded fourth. Defending champion Port Richmond rounds out the top five in the 32-team field, it was decided Sunday at PSAL headquarters by the seeding committee, which consisted of PSAL officials, umpires and media members.

“I think we deserve a two seed, I would’ve been upset with anything less,” McCleary said. “I think we’re ready and playing all the tough teams in our division should definitely help us in the playoffs.”

Led by senior pitcher Alyssa Schneebaum (14-2, 0.26 earned run average) and senior catcher Lucia Oswald, Francis Lewis finished tied with Bayside atop Queens A, but gets the nod by taking two of three from the Commodores this year.

Francis Lewis takes on No. 31 Christopher Columbus (1-14) in a first-round game at Lewis. Should the Patriots advance, they could face borough foe Townsend Harris (7-11) in the second round, Thursday at Francis Lewis. The Hawks defeated Lewis, 4-2 on April 11.

No. 15 Townsend Harris hosts 18th-seeded Stuyvesant (8-7) in a first-round game at Queens College.

All ‘A’ and ‘B’ first-round games were Tuesday and second-round games are Thursday, at the higher seed. The quarterfinals are Tuesday at Central Park, the semifinals are May 30 at Preller Field and the championship game tentatively is scheduled for June 2 at Fordham University. The ‘B’ game will be at 4:30 p.m., followed by the ‘A’ at 7 p.m.

Despite beating Madison (13-2) in a non-conference game early in the season, Bayside (20-3, 15-3) is seeded behind the Lady Knights, who won the Brooklyn I-A title. The Commodores take on Staten Island’s Petrides (1-17) in the first round.

“This is going to be a very interesting playoffs,” said Bayside coach Steve Piorkowski, whose team ended the year 16-1. “It’s going to be a rigorous test for anyone who wins the city championship.”

Led by senior windmiller Francesca Romano (10-2, 1.45 ERA), John Adams (12-6) is seeded eighth and faces No. 25 Louis Brandeis (4-9) in the first round. No. 16 Bryant (6-12) hosts No. 17 Bronx Leadership (9-6), 19th seeded Cardozo (6-12) is at No. 14, Murry Bergtraum (12-3) and 28th seeded Van Buren (2-16) is at Port Richmond (13-5).

While no team this side of the Verrazano Bridge has won the PSAL softball crown since 1983 when Springfield Gardens captured the title, Queens has a good chance of winning the inaugural PSAL ‘B’ championship as seven of the top 10 seeded teams call the borough home.

After top-seeded and undefeated Bushwick, Beach Channel is seeded second and Newtown is third. Sheepshead Bay is seeded fourth, while Forest Hills rounds out the top five.

Clearly the best ‘B’ division is Queens II-B, which has three teams, No. 3 Newtown, No. 5 Forest Hills and sixth-seeded Grover Cleveland, in the top six of the 32-team field.

“This is really a testament to my girls because playing against the top teams made us better,” said Newtown coach Wayne Crawford. “Our division is so solid. Put Franklin K. Lane [fourth place in Queens II-B] in any other division in the city and they’re also a playoff team.”

After struggling through an 8-17 season last year, 3-13 in division, Newtown is 22-6, 15-3 in the B division. The Pioneers, who take on No. 30 Canarsie (8-7), have lost to only three B division teams and beat Bushwick, 13-9 in a non-league game.

Finishing just behind Newtown in Queens II-B is Forest Hills, the No. 5 seed. The Rangers (21-4, 14-3) host 28th-seeded Westinghouse (9-6) in the first round.

“It’s a very nice seed for us,” said Forest Hills coach Jonas Garelle. “I knew we’d be a top eight seed, it’s approximately where I thought we’d be.”

Grover Cleveland (13-5) is the sixth seed and host either Norman Thomas or Justice Academy in the first round. No. 7 Robert F. Kennedy (10-5), the Queens III-B champs, take on No. 26 High School for Economics and Finance (10-8).

John Bowne, the eighth seed at 10-5, hosts Van Ardsdale (13-5), No. 9 Flushing (10-5) is home for South Bronx (10-4) and Springfield Gardens (6-8) plays Taft (7-8) in an outbracket game for the right to Bushwick in the first round.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mai at [email protected] or call 229-0300, Ext. 143