By Patrick McCormack
Beach Channel had a chance to keep its season of comebacks alive with yet another.
The fifth-seeded Dolphins baseball team, trailing by three runs, had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but East Side Community pitcher Jacob Pena ended the threat right there. He retired Joe Calandra and Shawn Griffin to keep Beach Channel off the board.
“It was more of a couple of guys being over-anxious,” Beach Channel Coach John Mangieri said of the opportunity.
“We had our two best hitters, Calandra and Griffin, coming up. That’s where you need to nip it in the bud and make the move. We had an opportunity to do it and we just didn’t get it done.”
Visiting No. 12 East Side added insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, holding on to beat Beach Channel 7-3 in the second round of the PSAL Class AA playoffs May 26.
“It was a tough loss,” Calandra said. “I thought we were going to come back. “We won our last game on a walk off. Just didn’t happen, too many mistakes.”
Fast Start for Tigers
The Tigers (13-3) started the game by scoring at least one run in each of the first four innings. East Side’s big inning was the third.
Timothy Lopez started the scoring with an RBI single. Following the single, Hassane Azar picked up his second RBI of the game with a double to make it 4-0 in favor of the Manhattan school.
“They swung the bats really well,” Mangieri said. “They kept swinging and swinging and getting men on base almost every inning.”
The Dolphins (13-5) got on the board in the bottom half of the third on an inside-the-park home run from Calandra. But the Tigers answered right back in the fourth with a RBI single from Isaiah Perez, which made it 5-1.
A Four-Run Cushion
The four-run lead looked like it was more than enough for East Side starter Timothy Lopez, who held back the Dolphin offense in 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, strinking out seven and walking four.
“He threw a lot strikes,” Mangieri said, “He had good velocity, probably one of the better guys we have seen this year.”
Lopez did get into trouble in the sixth and it looked like the magic was going to continue, but Pena was able to come in and end the rally. Though they came up short, the Dolphins were able to have a successful first year in the ‘AA’ level after winning the ‘B’ title last season. Beach Channel won the Queens AA West division title.
“These kids are resilient,” Mangieri said.
“They never quit on me. It’s a big part of this program,”