BY DAVID RUSSELL
The Bayside Commodores won their first baseball title with a 3-2 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt in the PSAL title game at Yankee Stadium on Monday.
“At the beginning of the season that’s what we were shooting for,” said head coach Pat Torney. “I knew we had a talented bunch, it’s just a question of learning how to win and I think we proved we can do it.”
It’s a much better ending to the season than the blowout loss in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. “Last year was just terrible,” said Dimitri Papazoglou, the winning pitcher in Monday’s game. “We screwed up mentally, but this year we came mentally ready, physically ready, everything.”
Bayside actually played better later in the playoffs than they did in the opening rounds, partially because the postseason jitters cleared up. “When we finally won the first couple of rounds and got into the semifinals they realized they could do something that no other baseball team in Bayside has ever done,” Torney said.
With Bayside leading 3-1 in the fifth, Eleanor Roosevelt loaded the bases with two outs. Blas Lee lined a run-scoring single to left, but Anthony Costa preserved the lead with a one-hop throw to home plate to nail the potential tying run.
In the seventh, Eleanor Roosevelt had two runners on with nobody out, and Matthew DeMartini, who started at second, was on the mound. A bunt was popped up, and caught by the pitcher who turned and threw to second for the double play. Then came the final out, a ground ball to short. “So many emotions that come into my head,” said shortstop Daniel Alfonzo. “I was like, ‘Oh, we’re going to win this, we’re going to win this.’ By the time the ball came to me I knew I had to relax because I didn’t want to make a bad throw, but I stayed calm and I got the guy out.”
It’s a memorable ending to finish a great season. “It feels awesome winning a championship,” Alfonzo said.
“We put so much time and effort and look where it got us.”