There were anxious moments right down to the final out. But in the end, the Monsignor Pace Spartans baseball team delivered just enough offense and then held off a furious Columbus rally to knock off the Explorers 7-6 on Friday night at Pace High School.
Thanks to a big five-run first inning in which they capitalized on two Columbus errors, Pace (6-3-1) built a 7-2 lead after five innings and appeared to have everything under control. But Columbus (9-2) rallied with a single run in the top of the fifth and then chased starter Jonathan Hernandez in the sixth on a one-out single by Gil Torres and ensuing RBI double from Eddie Rodriguez. Pinch hitter Danny Diaz then greeted reliever Ian Rodriguez with a towering two-run home run to left to cut Pace’s lead to one.
Things got even tighter for the Spartans when closer Luis Deville issued one-out walks to Ryan Alvarez and Christian Garabedian in the seventh. But Deville settled down and struck out Nelson Mompierre and Torres swinging to close the game out.
“A really big win for us because we’ve really struggled all season trying to close out games in the late innings,” said assistant coach Chuck Lyman said after the victory. Lyman served as the team’s interim head coach after head coach Tom Duffin was suspended for two games after getting ejected from a game against Chaminade on Wednesday. “Columbus is a great program and we knew even at 7-2 and they would keep battling and they did. Even though he walked two kids, Luis (Deville) is a gutsy kid and did a great job of settling down and cutting down those last two batters.”
Pace was led by Andrew McCoy and Manny Pazos, who both delivered two-run doubles.
Pazos’ hit was huge because it came with two outs in the bottom of the fourth scoring both Lorenzo Hampton and Bryan Bermudez to make it 7-2 which turned out to be the deciding runs.
Columbus (9-2) was led by Laz Rivera (2 for 3, RBI) and Diaz with the pinch-run homer.
WP: Hernandez (3-1). LP: Lestiero (3-1)
Westwood Christian’s Armand Shoon and Miami Country Day’s Onika Swaby each dominated at the 27th annual Class 4A-1A basketball senior all-star games at Florida Christian.
Shoon scored a game-high 23 points in the boy’s all-star game and won both the three-point shootout and slam dunk contest. He was the South’s MVP, but the South lost to the North 76-68. At halftime Ransom Everglades’ Sam Singer was awarded player of the year.
Swaby scored a game-high 17 points in the girl’s all-star game. She also was awarded player of the year at halftime and finished second in the girl’s three-point shootout. She was the North’s MVP in a 45-31 victory over the South.
Swaby and her MCD teammate Breanne Blot scored all of the North girls points in the first 12 minutes of play and finished with 31 total points to match the output of the entire South squad. Palmer Trinity’s Stephanie Granada won the girl’s three-point shootout over Swaby in a tie-breaker.
Granada had the highest single output in any girl’s round by hitting 12 three-pointers in one minute.
At halftime Shoon battled teammate Daniel Ramis in the boy’s three-point shootout finals. Shoon also won the dunk contest over Calusa prep’s Alex Carter with a self-pass slam off the backboard.