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PSAL Cricket Playoffs
Battle For Final Berth Continues

By Sam Sooppersaud

June 9th, 2009
If you are a regular spectator at PSAL High School cricket games backing your favorite team, then I commend you on your having nerves of steel. Most of the games have been so exciting that it is difficult for one to remain in one's seat. You are up every moment cheering your team or, you are up turning your back to the play, because the other team has just seized the initiative from your team. But then the next moment you are sitting again in your seat with a broad smile painted on your face, because your team has once again gained the upper hand. Such is the general atmosphere at a PSAL game.

Aviation High School coach Wesley Henry celebrates with his team after beating Abraham Lincoln High School earlier in the season. (Photo by Shiek Mohamed)

Wanna feel the electricity! Then come out and watch any of the two semi-finals which get underway at Baisley Park, Queens, on Wednesday, June 10th. Games start at 4:00 P.M. sharp. At Baisley Park North - The Cage - Newcomers High, last year's champions battle Aviation High School for a place in the finals, while at Baisley Park South - The Pond - John Adams H.S. will engage in the slugfest with William C. Bryant H.S.

I call this matchup a slugfest because that is what both teams did in the preliminary rounds; they both scored prolifically against nearly all opponents.

How Aviation got to the semi-final is a real Cinderella story. They are the #13 seed in the playoffs consisting of thirteen teams. They were 6-6 (win-loss) in the preliminary rounds but never gave up the dream of making it to the playoffs even when they were being battered by more superior clubs.

Their motivator, Coach Wesley Henry, made them believe in themselves. I am the coach for Newcomers High School and I remember the words coach Henry said to me after we had just defeated them for the second time: "Soop, we'll meet you in the playoffs, I guarantee that."

True to his words, Aviation is in the playoffs. First they defeated the #4 seed, Hillcrest H.S, a powerhouse who was scuttled out for a meager 38 runs. Aviation made quick work and knocked off the runs. Aviation's next conquest was Martin Van Buren H.S. who had defeated them twice in the preliminary rounds. Now this modern day David is set to do battle with Goliath the #1 seed Newcomers H.S., who also had defeated them on two occasions. Will lightning strike twice and deny Aviation! Who knows! Twenty/20 cricket is unpredictable. The only sure thing about this form of the game is that the spectators are guaranteed to have a hair-raising time.

Let me recap for you, the readers, how these four teams earned their places in the Semi Finals. Bryant earned their spot by defeating Richmond Hill H.S. John Adams took care of DeWitt Clinton while Newcomers were victorious over Abraham Lincoln. The pundits will be quick to say that Bryant, Adams, and Newcomers are about evenly matched while they will brand Aviation the underdog. But remember, a dog bites!

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