Holland steps up, helps Klingensmith advance
Dayne Holland struggled to produce at the plate for Klingensmith during the regular season. He's the first to admit it.
But the Daily News League playoffs are a new season.
Holland knocked in all three of the Blue Jays' runs Friday at Helen Richey Field in a 3-1, series-clinching victory over Carriage Inn.
“I had a rough regular season,” Holland said. “I was seeing the ball like a beach ball (Friday).”
Holland also had a game-winning, walk-off single in Game 1 Thursday, but that was overshadowed since Game 2 started immediately after, and Carriage Inn was able to even the opening-round series.
“That was all right. I don't need any recognition as a player,” Holland said.
After Carriage Inn took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on four singles, Liam Halferty allowed only two hits the rest of the way.
“With what we had, we definitely competed to the best of our ability,” said Carriage Inn acting coach Zak Kozlowski, who also catches and pitches.
The Reds managed to field only nine players and had to pitch infielder Casey Jones, who hadn't taken the mound all season, after Zack Mikolics couldn't get past the first inning with lingering hamstring and shoulder problems.
Klingensmith (14-13) took advantage of the pitching change and managed to pull even in the bottom of the second before Holland delivered the go-ahead, two-run single in the fourth, scoring Zack Podrasky and Ryan Badzgon.
“He came up in all the key situations (this series),” Klingensmith coach John Rende said. “We wanted this game.”
Klingensmith celebrated its opening-round victory, but its focus quickly shifted to the start of the next series.
The Blue Jays will face Harvey Wilner's Tavern in the best-of-five semifinals, starting Sunday.
“Kids are confident,” Rende said. “We know we can beat anyone.”
Holland, riding high after his impressive first round, feels even more confident.
“I think we'll be in the championship.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.