It didn’t last long, but for a short while they dreamed big.
We’re referring to the Miami Springs minors Little League all-star team which took the field last Sunday morning (July 7) as a prohibitive underdog against Kendall Red in the District 8 championship game at Prince Field.
Three-time defending champion Kendall came in having mercy-ruled every single one of its opponents in the South pool division and done the same to Liberty City in the District 8 semifinals two days before.
The Springs kids came in as the “wet-behind-the-ears” crew. Only once had any MS minors team ever made it to the championship game and that was all the way back in 1996, seven or eight years before this crop of 9- and 10-year-olds were even born. In fact, no majors team (11-, 12-year-olds) to date has ever accomplished the feat as well.
With all that said, after the first inning, one might have thought that the Springs youngsters were the ones with the experienced pedigree and Kendall was there for the first time. Much to the delight of a nice crowd in the stands, MS jumped all over the favorites for three runs in the top of the first and led 3-0 after one inning.
But, like we said, the dream was short-lived as Kendall answered with a five-run second and four-run third and went on to an 11-5 victory to capture their fourth straight District 8 crown.
Kendall will be joined by two Broward teams (District 10 and District 21) this weekend (July 12-14) at Doral Meadows Park in Doral for the sectional tournament that will determine who goes to the state tournament in Mims (near Titusville) the following weekend.
“You could not have asked for a better start to the game, that’s for sure,” minors head coach Robert Gonzalez-Pino said. “But we just coudn’t sustain that early momentum and once Kendall starting plating a few runs, it became a tough hole to dig out of.”
Despite trailing 9-3, the Springs kids showed no signs of “give-up” as they rallied to score twice in the top of the fifth to cut the Kendall lead to 9-5 before Kendall answered with its own two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Springs went down in order in the top of the sixth to end the contest.
“What a great run, and I can’t be more proud of the our kids,” Gonzalez-Pino said. “Even after we fell behind by six runs, they kept on fighting to the very end and that tells you everything you need to know about them.”
After the first two batters (Carlos Martin and Carlos Rey) were retired to start the game, Springs then put on a major two-out rally off Kendall starter Jonathan Gonzalez.
After Oscar Colindres Jr. walked, Nicholas Regalado, one of the team’s top players who had just gotten in from out of town the night before, stepped up and tripled to the right-center-field fence to score Colindres Jr.
Javier Cardoso II then knocked one to the right-field fence for a double and it was 2-0. When Gavin Gonzalez hit a routine grounder to third, it appeared the inning would end. But the throw to first was high and Cardoso II rounded third and came home to make it 3-0 as the Springs dugout celebrated jubilantly.