“It just drives you crazy because we seemed to play so tight against them in all three games including today,” said Green whose team finished the season 15-4, the only other loss coming to American. “The problem is they (Springs and Goleman players) all know each other from playing travel ball together and I think our girls tended to press so hard when we played them that it showed on the field. Almost all the time, if you play tight, you lose.”
They certainly did on Tuesday. Even though Springs outhit Goleman 8-3, it was a wild streak by Santos in the second inning (four walks and a hit batter) and three huge errors (one at shortstop and two at catcher) in the last of the third that led to all six Goleman runs.
Santos made some quality pitches with two strikes more than once in that second inning but didn’t get the calls. Perhaps frustrated, she eventually lost the strike zone including a crucial two-out walk to Goleman’s No. 9 hitter which kept the inning going and led to two Gator runs.
Springs countered right back in the top of the third when, with one-out, Santos took advantage of a mistake by her cousin, Frances Santos, Goleman’s starting pitcher.
Trying to intentionally walk her, as so many opponents have done to Geneva all season long, Frances got careless with a 3-0 pitch and left it out over the plate. Geneva drilled it down the left field line to the fence for a triple and scored a minute later on a Nicole Fernandez base hit. After Fernandez was forced out on a Crystal Ramos fielders choice, Ramos advanced to second on an error at third base. Taylor Navarro then stepped up and drilled a base hit to center scoring Ramos to tie the game at two.
Then came the disastrous error-plagued third inning for Springs in which Goleman plated four runs despite getting just two hits leaving Springs a 6-2 hole to climb out of which they darn near did.
After scoring once in the fourth to make it 6-3, Tiffany Turman stepped up with two on and two out in the top of the fifth and delivered a clutch two-strike shot to the left field fence scoring both Norma Rodriguez and Crystal Ramos.
She eventually made it down to third on an Amy Martinez infield hit bringing up Nicole Borroto, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup. Santos, the team’s best hitter was on deck dying to get to the plate but could only watch helplessly as Borroto hit a little dribbler to second base for the easy out to end the inning.
“I still felt good at that point because Geneva had settled down on the mound (Santos allowed just one baserunner after the third inning) and we had the top of the lineup coming up in the sixth with Geneva leading off,” said Green.
But the inning would last for less than two minutes as Santos swung at an eye-high fastball on the second pitch, popping out to third base before Fernandez and Ramos each swung at the first pitch hitting little dribbling grounders for easy outs.
“I think it was less than two minutes and the inning was over,” said Green. “Four pitches? You just can’t have that. Late in a one-run game, you have to work pitchers and make them throw strikes. We just were not disciplined enough to do that.”
The top of the seventh arrived and when Navarro wracked up her third hit of the game with one out, there was hope. But hope lasted all of about 60 seconds when Acosta hit the second pitch right back to pitcher Vicky Morales who turned quickly and fired to second for the force and then over to first to double up Acosta for a game and season-ending double play.
“We’ll just go to work now on getting them into school,” said Green who graduates four seniors, Acosta, Fernandez, Martinez and Navarro. “Nina (Acosta) is headed for UM (University of Miami), Taylor is going to Florida Gulf Coast and Nicole and Amy have offers from Edward Waters in Jacksonville. Sure winning games is always great but what’s really important and you can never lose sight of is trying to get these girls into school with some financial help.”