By all accounts, it was a banner year for Queens A-East. The division sent five teams to the PSAL Class A playoffs, three of whom - Bayside, Cardozo and regular season champion Francis Lewis - advanced to the final 16. Unfortunately, they all ran into elite opposition in the second round, and were dismissed.
No. 19 Bayside, 3-1 winners against 14th-seeded Walton in the opening round, was routed by No. 3 Lehman, 10-0; Francis Lewis was manhandled by sixth-seeded George Washington 11-3; and No. 17 Cardozo, out of the first round for the first time since 2003 after knocking off No. 16 Bryant 5-4, was nipped by top-seeded Madison, 4-3.
“In the first round, you can expect some teams to have flaws,” Bayside outfielder Antonio Koulotouros said. “But as you get to the later rounds, you’re going to see teams that don’t really make a lot of mistakes. You’re definitely going to be playing elite competition.”
So, for the first time in three years, the borough was not represented in the quarterfinals. Bayside was there each of the last two years. However, Francis Lewis Coach Ian Millman said that does not negate the seasons any of three squads enjoyed, particularly the Patriots who came from virtually out of nowhere to gain the division crown.
“There are positives you can take,” he said. “The boys did a great job this year. They really accomplished something.”
Monsignor McClancy pulled off a heart-stopping rally Saturday afternoon, coming from behind to upend St. Raymond’s in the second game of their CHSAA Class A playoff series. Before they could build on the victory the Crusaders found themselves behind the eight ball, trailing by three runs after the first inning when senior James Roubal, pitching on just three days rest, was touched up.
“I felt good enough to pitch, but it wasn’t the same way I felt when I was pitching against Molloy,” he said, referring to his complete game shutout in the previous round. “My pitches weren’t really hitting their spots, I wasn’t getting too many calls. You give up three runs in the first inning … that sets you back the rest of the game.”
Against right-hander Hans Arias, the deficit proved too big of a mountain to climb as the Crusaders saw their encouraging season end, 4-0, to the Ravens at St. John’s University. A few questionable calls did not help their cause, either, which included one run being negated and another runner being thrown out at second base.
McClancy (14-7) Coach Nick Melito vehemently argued all of the calls, criticized the umpires afterwards, specifically field official Rich McCarren, and played the game under protest. Yet Melito wanted to make it clear that had nothing to do with the result.
“We’re too good of a program to blame umpires for losses,” he said. “St. Ray’s is a great ball club and they won fair and square.”