Kaolis Delacruz, Division third baseman, reacts after his two-out, two-run...

Kaolis Delacruz, Division third baseman, reacts after his two-out, two-run single in the top of the third inning that gave the Dragons a 2-0 lead over host Calhoun in a Nassau Conference AA-II baseball game on Monday. Credit: James Escher

The dynamo in the Division offense is centerfielder Matt Bolton, one of Long Island’s hottest hitters. The lefthanded hitting Binghamton commit had scorched opposing pitching for a .625 average through seven games.

But the dynamic in the Division offense comes when Bolton is intentionally walked and cleanup man Kaolis Delacruz steps to the plate.

“We need Kaolis to hit,” Division coach Tom Tuttle said. “He hits behind Bolton and when teams intentionally walk Bolton we need him to make them pay. He’s a three-year starter and this is his year.”

Delacruz had quite the game against Calhoun on Monday. He went 3-for-4 with a hit by pitch and drove in seven runs as visiting Division beat Calhoun, 12-3, in a Nassau Conference AA2 baseball game. Both teams are 2-2 in conference play.

“Matt Bolton is a great hitter and has earned the respect of our opponents,” Delacruz said. “But if they’re going to walk him to pitch to me, I’m going to make them regret it. I’m the cleanup hitter and it’s my job to drive in runs.”

Delacruz opened the scoring with a two-out, two-run single to leftfield to give the Blue Dragons a 2-0 lead in the third inning. He added a one-out run-scoring single to give Division a 5-2 lead in the fifth and knocked Colts lefthanded ace Danny Goodman out of the game.

“We didn’t hit against Carey and they beat us two of three,” Tuttle said. “Today we faced another quality pitcher and we put good swings on him.”

Trailing 6-2 in the sixth inning, Calhoun coach Artie Canestro chose to issue a two-out intentional walk to Bolton, who had already singled, walked and tripled off the rightfield fence. It was a prudent baseball decision, but Delacruz followed with a loud statement.

Delacruz drilled a 2-and-2 fastball high off the centerfield fence for a bases-clearing three-run double against Calhoun reliever Lucas Vesley for a 9-2 lead.

“There’s no pressure when they walk Matt to get to me,” Delacruz said. “I’m a confident hitter and I want to earn some respect.”

Bolton added: “I don’t mind when they walk me because we can rely on Kaolis to get the job done. He’s a great hitter.”

While Division (6-2) peppered the outfield fence at Calhoun (3-3) with six extra-base hits, starting pitcher Matt Marino did his best to hold off an aggressive Colts offense. Marino struck out seven and allowed nine hits and two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and earned the victory.

“Matt’s a really good pitcher and they must have studied him because they hit the ball well,” Bolton said. “But he got the key outs and our defense played well.”


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