- Last Updated: 7:14 PM, May 24, 2012
- Posted: 3:20 AM, May 24, 2012
NYPost.com softball beat writer Joseph Staszewski breaks down Thursday’s PSAL Class A softball semifinals 3:30 p.m. on Randall’s Island.
No. 1 Tottenville Pirates
Head coach: Cathy Morano
Player to watch: Jillian Regan
No. 4 Construction Red Hawks
Head coach: Marco Migliaccio
Player to watch: Britney Rodriguez
Outlook: It’s a battle of the PSAL’s premier program in Tottenville against a Construction team on a meteoric rise to the top. The Staten Island school has won seven of the last eight city crowns and the Red Hawks are in their second straight semifinal after moving up to the ‘A’ division two years ago.The two clubs have tangled before with the Pirates easily handling Construction, which owns a ‘B’ crown, 15-2 in a regular-season crossover game.
Red Hawks ace Brittany Rodriguez was hit hard that day by the PSAL’s best lineup and Construction's defense was being revamped at the time. Construction, which beat Clinton just 3-2 in the quarterfinals, is hoping for the usually dominant windmiller to bounce back and its revamped defense to play a much cleaner game in the field. Construction has a lineup that can hit with Kailan Luciano and Amy Pirozek.
That’s no easy task with Cheryl Lopez, arguably the city’s top pitcher, in the circle. The junior ace has given up just three hits in three playoff starts, including a five-inning no-hitter against Bryant in the quarterfinals.
She is also one of the Pirates' top offensive threats in the middle of the order along with stud shortstop Jillian Regan and budding first baseman Nylah Ramirez is tough on any pitcher. The biggest plus for Tottenville is New Haven-bound leadoff hitter Jen Palase is starting to heat up at the right time.
No. 2 Susan Wagner Falcons
Head coach: Marco Altieri
Player to watch: Taylor Sarcone
No. 6 Francis Lewis
Head coach: Bryan Brown
Player to watch: Pricilla Lallave
Outlook: There are more storylines than you can count in this one. The game is a rematch last year’s quarterfinals where Francis Lewis staved off a wild Wagner rally to advance to the semifinals. The Patriots feel they are building an expectation to be in this round with a return trip while Wagner is making its fifth final four appearance in the last six years. Lewis last won a title in 2002, while the Falcons are looking for their first final appearance.
Wagner believes this is the year it breaks through. Ace Taylor Sarcone is having an all-city type season in the circle and at the plate and is one of the five boroughs' grittiest players. The Falcons have the offensive advantage with a deep lineup of speed and power led by Dayna Williams and Jennifer Greenberg. They have already knocked off league rival New Dorp and MSIT and are battle tested.
Lewis being in the semifinals is a bit of a surprise to most people outside of the Patriots. The Queens club is built around pitching and defense and scored three runs on bases-loaded walks in an upset of perennial power Madison in the quarterfinals. With the gutty Priscilla Lallave in the circle, Lewis has a chance to shut down any lineup. Younger sister Samantha Lallave is a versatile force at shortstop and provides speed on the bases. Alina Cerda is turning into a reliable bat.
A win by either team is a big step forward for the program.Follow @NYPostsports