Castillo, Telecom bash New Utrecht to clinch division crown

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Telecommunications knows there is no room for slip ups this time of year, with teams jockeying for playoff seeding, and the Yellow Jackets took care of business with an impressive performance against second-place New Utrecht.

Telecom clinched the Brooklyn A West baseball title with a 14–3, five-inning, run-rule victory over the Utes at Ben Vitale Park on Monday. Yellow Jackets coach Ed D’Alessio said his team understood the importance of the task at hand for the defending city champions.

“It was a good win. We have to try and win every game because you need to be the highest seed as you possibly can in the PSAL playoffs,” he said. “I am definitely happy with the win. They did what they had to do today. I expected a tighter game but they hit the ball early, and we took advantage of it.”

Marco Castillo, who went two-for-two with five RBI, broke the game open in the top of the second when he drilled a grand slam to make it 9–1. Castillo, who had just four RBI coming into the game, came over to Telecom from Bishop Ford, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year. He was saddened to hear of the closure of his old school, but his focus in on helping Telecom (13–1) win games. That meant tweaking the way he handles himself at the plate.

“Going into the game I changed my whole approach,” he said. “I was looking for good pitches today and when I got my good pitch, I just swung at it.”

New Utrecht coach Rick DeMarco saw his team get itself in a hole early, and it just couldn’t recover.

“We played a very good team and we didn’t play very well,” DeMarco said. “I am hoping sooner or later we decide to play from the first inning on, and not after we spot teams five to nine runs.”

Telecom showed its ability to score in bunches again in the fifth inning, racking up five runs and sending nine men to the dish. Nick Candelario pitched well for Telecom, giving up only three runs and striking out seven in five innings. His effort silenced the offense of New Utrecht (10–5).

D’Alessio knows what it takes to win after taking home the city championship last season. The Yellow Jackets will have to pitch well, and has no room for an off game when one loss can end your season.

“You have to be on your game,” D’Alessio said. “Hopefully we’ll be ready. We should be. In the playoffs, I think it is going to come down to our pitchers throwing strikes. I have two of my guys consistently throwing strikes.”

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