Not that he was excited about a 1-4 start to the season, but that probably seemed like ions ago for Miami Springs baseball coach Willie Vasquez last week.
Vasquez sat in the dugout following his team’s 13-3, 10-run mercy rule dismantling of Goleman at Shelly Dunkel Field and feeling pretty good about his situation.
Not only had his Hawks just won their seventh game in nine tries to move their overall record to 8-6 but the win was a huge district-showdown victory against the Gators, leaving both teams at 4-1 and tied for first. It also came less then 24 hours after a really tough 5-0 loss to county power Columbus.
“This was a big game because last night when we lost to Columbus we played well enough to beat them because four of those five runs were unearned,” said Vasquez. “For these kids to bounce back today and knock off the number one team in the district says a lot. They were really focused today and it showed.”
Especially focused were David Cervante, Austin Voeller and Carlos Santana.
Cervante went out and pitched well, yielding just four hits in his six innings of work while Voeller came through with a towering three run home run over the right field fence in the last of the fifth that ignited a six-run rally which put the Hawks up by 10 and ultimately allowing them to close things out early by retiring the Gators in order in the sixth.
Santana had the biggest day, going three-for-four at the plate and knocking in six of Springs 13 runs.
“I was hoping for something off speed and up and he gave it to me and I drove it,” said Voeller of his big blast. “Our team started off the season a little rocky but now we’ve really got it going and today was a big win for us.”
After staking Cervante to an early lead after jumping out to a 4-0 lead after two, Goleman put its rally caps on in the top of the fourth scoring three times to cut the Springs lead to 4-3. But Santana came through with a clutch bases-load two-out base hit in the bottom of the inning to cap off a three-run rally giving the Hawks their four-run lead back setting the stage for the big six-run fifth.
“This was important today because we knew we would be tied for first in the district with the win,” said Cervante. “I felt pretty good today, what was working mostly was my slider and curve ball and always staying ahead in the count. Great defense and offense as well.”
With the other three teams in the district consisting of Norland, Mourning and Carol City, the likelihood is that both Springs and Goleman will finish in a 7-1 tie for first in the district with a coin flip ultimately deciding who will enter the district tournament as the top seed.
“I heard from a lot of my friends early on who said I was crazy because of the way I had bulked up the schedule with the likes of Gables, Columbus, Hialeah, Doral and TERRA,” said Vasquez. “But I bulked it up because you have to get yourself toughened up during the regular season even if you take a few lumps along the way to prepare yourself when you get to districts and regionals because there is no tomorrow in those games. It usually pays off in the long run and we’re starting to see the results now having won seven of nine.”
Even though school is out this week because of spring break, that doesn’t mean the Hawks baseball team is off.
Vasquez and his kids did some offseason fundraising and thus are off to Sarasota this week to participate in the Sarasota Baseball Classic where they will play four games against some pretty good teams, Palmetto, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, Punta Gorda Charlotte and Bradenton Lakewood Ranch.
“A really good tournament that will only help make us a better team as we head into April and prepare for the district playoffs,” said Vasquez.