By Zach Braziller and Marc Raimondi
Queens had one of its best baseball years in a long time.
John Adams advanced to the PSAL Class A semifinals for the first time in seven seasons and Cardozo, despite a quarterfinals exit, was the top seed in the playoffs. Bryant and Newtown had solid campaigns, Long Island City had its first draftee ever (Josh Almonte) and Queens Vocational Tech made the ‘B’ final.
Over in the CHSAA, Archbishop Molloy made the ‘AA’ final four, stunning favorite Xaverian. Holy Cross and St. Francis Prep both made the final 12 and Monsignor McClancy was also a playoff team.
All-Queens baseball Player of the Year: Connor Doyle, Cardozo
The difference between Class B and Class A isn’t as wide as some may think, at least Connor Doyle made it seem that way. The Townsend Harris transfer excelled in his first year in the ‘A’ division, leading Cardozo to its second straight undefeated season in Queens A East and its first PSAL Class A quarterfinal berth in many years.
The team’s stopper on the mound with a fastball that reaches the high 80s, its starting center fielder and one of its top hitters, he did it all for the Judges. Doyle, a Division I prospect in the making, had 19 RBIs, scored 19 runs and went a perfect 5-0 on the mound with 48 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched, nearly a 2-1 ratio.
“Adding Connor to the mix makes everything a lot easier for our team,” Cardozo Coach Ron Gorecki said of his dynamic junior.
All-Queens baseball Coach of the Year: Glenn Beyer, John Adams
Self-deprecating and always deferring credit, the longtime John Adams coach would refuse this award if he could. Beyer has nothing to do with the Spartans’ best season in seven years, he said. It’s a testament to the players, he repeated often.
That, of course, is untrue. He deserves plenty of kudos, for getting the most out of a group many felt was the second most talented team in Queens A West in March, for trusting an unproven sophomore — Anderson DeLeon, who would become his MVP — and riding that hot hand.
Adams stunned the city by cruising to another Queens A West crown and getting all the way to the PSAL Class A semifinals — there were some that had the Spartans bowing out in the first round — and knocking off powerhouse Tottenville in the process.
“It’s tremendous — I thought I’d never seen a final four again,” Beyer said after knocking off Tottenville. “I’m very proud of the boys.”
P/2B Nick Alvarez, Bryant
Bryant fell short of its lofty preseason expectations, finished third in Queens A East and bowed out in the second round of the PSAL Class A playoffs. Alvarez, however, did all he could, on the mound and at the plate. He gained consistency with the bat, knocking in 23 runs and hitting .404, and was also the team’s ace, pitching them to a playoff upset of Lehman in the first round.
LF Julian Bilodeau, Holy Cross
The Franklin Pierce-bound star had a walk-off single to lead Holy Cross past Archbishop Molloy in Game 2 of a best-of-three playoff series. Coach Steve Adams said he wouldn’t have wanted anyone else up in that spot.
1B/P Adrian Castano, Cardozo
Described as a mini five-tool player by Cardozo Coach Ron Gorecki, the junior continued to evolve this spring. The southpaw went 3-0 on the mound with 45 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched and also hit .424 and scored 19 runs for the Judges, who finished with a second straight undefeated league season and reached the PSAL Class A quarterfinals.
P/SS Anderson DeLeon, John Adams
Small in stature but big in every other way, the diminutive right-hander led John Adams to its first PSAL Class A semifinal berth in seven years. He went 8-0, allowed just five earned runs in 64 1/3 innings pitched and struck out an absurd 96 batters. He even beat mighty Tottenville in the quarterfinals, going 6 2/3 brilliant innings against last year’s runner-up.
P Rosario DiLorenzo, Archbishop Molloy
The St. Joseph’s College-bound senior’s best performance was a 1-0 loss to Xaverian in the regular season. But the workhorse’s signature game was in the playoffs against Moore Catholic, beating the Mavericks on two days rest.
SS Brian Luebcke, Monsignor McClancy
His sparkling defense alone probably would have earned him a spot on the all-Queens team. But add in the senior’s hitting prowess and work on the mound and he’s a surefire first team member — and McClancy’s best player in 2012.
SS Nicanor Luna, Cardozo
Juniors Adrian Castano and Connor Doyle drew plenty of attention, and understandably so given their talent. Yet Luna was the team leader, its top hitter and sturdy shortstop. He hit a robust .545 during the regular season and finished his final year at Cardozo with 24 RBIs and 22 runs scored. His leadership, and power bat, will be sorely missed next spring.
3B Jonathan Ramon, Archbishop Molloy
The CHSAA’s top power hitter, his 400-foot home run to dead center field at St. John’s in the playoffs will not be soon forgotten. Ramon missed almost the whole regular season (pinched nerve), but was vital as Molloy made the final four.
P Taso Stathopoulos, St. Francis Prep
For the second straight season, Stathopoulos was St. Francis Prep’s ace pitcher and one of the team’s best hitters. The junior’s right arm was a big reason why the Terriers advanced to the CHSAA Class AA third round, best-of-three series.
2B Jeffrey Valera, John Adams
One of the city’s best pure hitters, he led the John Adams lineup with his consistent right-handed bat. While the Spartans’ pitching staff drew most of the headlines for their run to the PSAL Class A semifinals, the batting order was underrated, with Valera, his .429 batting average and 21 runs scored keying the attack.
CF Josh Almonte, Long Island City
SS Danny Ammirati, Holy Cross
C Jorge Barahona, John Adams
P Matt Duverge, Newtown
P/SS Pedro Genao, Bayside
P/OF Adonis Lao, Bryant
1B Mike O’Dwyer, Archbishop Molloy
P Sean O’Melia, Monsignor McClancy
P Patrick O’Reilly, Christ the King
CF Steve Pelan, St. Francis Prep
SS Danny Pellegrino, St. Francis Prep
C Jason Perez, Queens Vocational Tech
LF Chris Piteo, Archbishop Molloy
P Braylin Nunez, John Adams
SS Jorge Rodriguez, St. John’s Prep