A year ago, George Washington pitcher Yael Regalado could not imagine he would be pitching in such an important game as the Public School Athletic League Class "A" final.
Pain in his right elbow ended his year early last season and doctors told him he would need Tommy John Surgery, which he ultimately avoided.
While his road back to the mound challenged him, that road led him to the mound for the PSAL title game where he pitched George Washington to a 4-2 win over Tottenville Saturday night to capture the Class “A” title at MCU Park in Brooklyn.
“I put so much pressure on myself this year to make up for missing last season,” Regalado said. “I didn’t put my head down though. Everything I missed last year, I had to make up for it this year.”
Regalado did his part to make up for lost time as he pitched six innings and held one of the PSAL’s toughest lineups to just one run while striking out seven.
“He’s been our ace all season,” Washington interim head coach Nick Carbone said. “He’s got a big heart. Even though he got into trouble at some points, he really battled and competed and got out of jams when he needed to get out of jams. He was great today.”
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second on a sacrifice fly by Justin Ferrer, but Tottenville rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth.
Anthony Capo drove in Gilberto Mendoza to tie it at 1-1. Thomas Kain then scored to make it 2-1 when Washington catcher Nelson Rodriguez threw the ball into center field on a stolen base attempt by Capo.
While Tottenville claimed the lead, a key play in the inning was Washington outfielder Fernelys Sanchez making an amazing running and jumping catch with runners on first and third and two outs. It saved one, possibly two runs.
“He is big time,” Carbone said. “He’s nationally recognized for a reason. He’s going to be a special player at the next level. That’s two great catches he’s made (in the postseason) for us now.”
In the bottom of the inning, Washington took the lead for good. Roman gave the Trojans a 3-2 lead on a single that drove in Henry Rodriguez and Randy Rodriguez. George Washington picked up an insurance run in the sixth on a suicide squeeze and freshman Reynaldo Hernandez picked up the save.
This win truly showcased how good the Trojans were this season.
They had a tremendous lineup that gave Tottenville ace Michael Sullivan, who had a 3-0 record with a 0.54 ERA, trouble all day. They got key hits and showed that they could play small ball. Regalado’s performance was equally as impressive against a tough Tottenville lineup.
To a man, every player on the team said they couldn’t have won the title without their suspended coach Steve Mandl as inspiration. Mandl was suspended on Feb. 15 for allegedly recruiting a player and did not get a preliminary injunction that would’ve allowed him to coach Saturday.
Mandl refused to take credit for the win, but thought his team did a great job separating off the field issues from the on the field stuff.
“That was the big worry, that they would carry their emotions on to the field with them,” Mandl said. “They really did a great job remaining professional though and I think they were able to channel that emotion and use it in a really positive way. They got us another city championship.”