Telecom thumps Wagner to reach first city title game

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The Yellow Jackets’ offense clicked at just the right moment, powering the team to its first city title game.

No. 4 seeded Telecommunications exploded for 34 runs over two semifinal games, including the team’s 16–7 win over No. 16 Susan Wagner in Game 2 of the Public School Athletic League Class A semifinals on Saturday night at the College of Staten Island.

Telecom swept the best-of-three series after winning the first game 18–7 on Friday, and advances to face No. 7 Norman Thomas in the final at 7 pm on June 7 at MCU Park.

“Everybody is waking up and hitting at the right time,” said sophomore first baseman Austin Ruiz.

Ruiz led the Yellow Jackets with five RBIs in the game, including a seventh-inning homerun to left field that put the game well out of Wagner’s reach.

“I was telling my brothers the whole game that I was feeling like I was going to hit one,” Ruiz said. “I saw the pitch and just took it.”

Ruiz was not the only player from Telecom (21–0) to have a successful day at the plate. Josh Mercado, Jose Espinal, and Isaiah Spears each had two RBIs in the game. Senior Josh Palacios had three hits, and scored three times for the Yellow Jackets.

Every player reached base at least once for Telecom.

“My kids usually don’t hit like that,” said Telecom head coach Ed D’Alessio. “Usually we have a solid team, [with good] pitching and defense. The hitting is so-so. But they hit the ball, and they were very, very clutch.”

A serviceable outing from starter Juan Rodriguez helped clinch the game for the Yellow Jackets. The junior allowed five runs, although only three were earned, on 10 hits in five innings.

“He didn’t really have his best stuff, but he gutted it out,” D’Alessio said.

The sweep over Wagner places Telecom in its first-ever championship game after reaching the semifinals for the first time last year. Although it has never been done in school history, the accomplishment did not come as a surprise to the Yellow Jackets. Winning a city championship was the goal from the start this season.

“It feels great, but it’s nothing that we didn’t expect,” said Palacios, a Stony Brook commit. “We expected this from the first day we stepped in the gym. This is what we’ve been working for all year.”

D’Alessio acknowledged there isn’t much you can do to prepare for the Tigers. The Yellow Jackets will just focus on playing their best game possible, something Telecom’s star player echoes.

“We’re not really focused on them, we’re focused on what we have to do as a team,” Palacios said. “We know if we give everything out there on the field, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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