By Dylan Butler
Forest Hills coach Marty Finkelstein acknowledges that the element of surprise is one of the greatest weapons in baseball, and no one was more surprised than Flushing catcher Joan Abad to see Eudy Perez racing down the third base line after Brett Cassidy missed on a suicide squeeze bunt attempt.
Abad caught strike two and then easily tagged out Perez in the third inning. He repeated the sequence for the final two outs of the game, catching strike three as Adam Spilke missed the bunt and then tossed to third where Eric Green tagged out Nison Aronov to secure Flushing’s 3-2 win at Elmjack Complex last Thursday.
The victory secured a tie atop Queens North B and avenges a sloppy 11-8 loss to Forest Hills two days earlier for the Red Devils.
“I was surprised because I caught the ball and he kept running anyway,” Abad said. “This is the biggest win of the year, until we get to the playoffs. This is the best one.”
After the game, Finkelstein defended his suicide squeezes, particularly his decision to have Cassidy, the Rangers’ No. 3 batter, bunt with one out and a runner at third.
“Brett’s a great bunter. I knew it was going to be a close game and we weren’t getting any good cuts on that guy, so I figured I’d try it,” he said. “In his three years on the team, I don’t think I’ve seen him miss the ball (on a bunt attempt) more than once.”
“That guy” Finkelstein refers to is Flushing senior Carlos Abad, Joan’s older brother.
After giving up two runs on three straight hits in the top of the first inning, Carlos Abad bore down and allowed just two more hits over the next six innings, striking out six to improve to 5-1.
“He was a warrior,” Flushing coach Charles Rexer said.
“He was amazing,” Joan Abad added. “Everything worked for him.”
Carlos Abad said he didn’t try to overpower Forest Hills (12-2 Queens North B), instead letting his defense do the work.
With the exception of a pair of throwing errors by Joan Abad, the Red Devils were flawless in the field, turning a pair of double plays.
“I don’t worry about the defense,” Carlos Abad said. “I know they can help me always.”
“We rely on our defense,” said Flushing co-coach Fernando Herrera. “The disappointing thing about (the 11-8 loss to Forest Hills) was we gave up everything. Defense is our mainstay and we got it done today.”
Flushing (11-2 Queens North B) tied the game at 2 when Teofilo Diaz drove in Michael Hsu with an opposite field double to right in the top of the fifth inning.
Diaz advanced to third on the throw home and Francisco Diaz followed with an infield single that put runners on the corners with one out.
Gabe Collado bounced back to Forest Hills pitcher Frank Russo, who turned toward second. But Russo double clutched the ball, ending any hopes of an inning-ending double play. Russo tossed to shortstop Perez to get the force at second, but Teofilo Diaz scored the go-ahead run on the play.
“I told them after the game that every play counted,” Finkelstein said. “We gave them opportunities they shouldn’t have had. Hopefully we’ll learn something from this.”
Cardozo 10, Bayside 0. Danny Rosenbluth struck out seven and allowed three hits in five innings and John DiLorenzo belted an RBI-double for Cardozo (19-7, 13-2 Queens A East).
Grand Street Campus 10, John Adams 9. Ernesto Marquez hit the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning and Dellin Betances added a solo home run and stuck out nine for the complete game upset win for Grand Street (16-9, 10-5 Queens A West).
Bushwick 2, Grover Cleveland 1. Luis Ruiz’s pinch-hit single drove in Steven Castro from second with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and Charles Lalane went the distance for Bushwick (8-7 Queens A West).
Francis Lewis 5, John Bowne 2. Steven Merslich struck out 11 in a complete-game victory and Mike Guarnieri hit a three-run home run for Francis Lewis (20-6, 11-4 Queens East A).
Newtown 8, Long Island City 4. Miguel Maria allowed two earned runs through five innings and Jeff Paulino added a three-run double for Newtown (6-8 Queens West A).
Grover Cleveland 13, Grand Street Campus 7. Rey Villafane belted a grand slam and Ray Fruggiero had three hits and two runs for the Tigers.
Cardozo 12, Newtown 5. Jesse Malin went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Danny Rosenbluth went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Judges.
Franklin K. Lane 9, Arts and Business 0. Jose Paulino went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and tossed a three-hitter for Lane (15-9, 8-4 Queens West A).
John Adams 11, Van Buren 1. Papo Cabrera went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and Johnny Lluberes and Louie Gonzalez each went 2-for-3 with a pair of two-run homers for John Adams (32-2-2, 14-0 Queens West A).
Francis Lewis 7, Aviation 6. Jonathan Arias scored on a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning after Matt Roomet stole home in the seventh inning for the Patriots.
Long Island City 6, Bayside 5. David Mercado, who was intentially walked two times, went 3-for-3 with a double, two homers and five RBIs, Fernando Serrano’s double drove in Jason Lopez in the ninth inning and Alveris Rodriguez went the distance, striking out seven for Long Island City (15-9, 6-8 Queens West A).
Queens Vocational 9, Renaissance 4. Alberto Aspiazu went the distance, striking out 10 and also belting a two-run home run, and Tanvir Toy went 3-for-4 with three runs scored for Queens Vocational (7-7 Queens North B).
Townsend Harris 10, Franklin K. Lane 7. Michael Schwartz and John Tatti each went 2-for-4 for Townsend Harris (9-5 Queens Central B), which erased a 7-2 deficit with an eight-run sixth inning.
Robert F. Kennedy 15, Arts and Business 3. Kevin Martinez, Dennis Wick and Bryan Purcell each hit home runs for red-hot RFK (11-9, 9-5 Queens Central B), winners of nine of their last 10 games.
Grover Cleveland 17, John Bowne 7. James DeBernardo (five RBIs) and Villafane (three RBIs) were each 4-for-5 for the Tigers.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.