Sometimes you have to take what you did against a team in the regular season and throw it right out the window when you meet them in the postseason.
And such was the case for the Miami Springs baseball team last Monday afternoon, April 21 when the Golden Hawks hosted Norland in a District 15-6A semifinal elimination game at Shelly Dunkel Field.
After outscoring the Vikings by a combined 19-3 in two regular season wins, there would be no such lopsidedness on this day as the Hawks found themselves in a dogfight against talented Norland pitcher Cleveland Westbrook.
Fortunately Springs had its own talented pitcher on the mound in the form of David Cervantes and it was Cervantes who outdueled Westbrook firing a complete-game one-hitter as the Hawks prevailed by a 3-1 final.
And with the win comes a berth in the District 15-6A championship game where Springs (15-9), the No. 2 seed, will take on top-seeded Goleman on Thursday, April 24 at 4 p.m. at Springs High School. Goleman (14-9) routed Mourning 16-7 in its semifinal on Tuesday.
Win or lose, the Hawks (15-9) will advance to the regional playoffs for the first time since 2009 as both district finalists advance to regional play.
“Wow it feels good to be back in regionals because it’s been awhile since this program has tasted it,” said Springs head coach Willie Vasquez. “We came into this game today against Norland with no false illusions. We knew it would be a real battle because even though we beat the Westbrook kid six weeks ago on this field 9-3, most of those nine runs were unearned as Norland made a bunch of errors. Today they were clean in the field, Westbrook was tough as we expected and fortunately were able to get just enough offensive support for David and he was brilliant out there today bringing us home.”
The Hawks, who did not face Westbrook in a 10-0 win at Norland two weeks ago, got Cervantes the only two runs he would need in the bottom of the first when Marlon Castillo was hit by a pitch, Juan Kirk walked, Carlos Santana singled Castillo home and Kirk eventually scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Austin Voeller.
Castillo's RBI single in the last of the fifth scored Anthony Diaz from second giving Cervantes and the Hawks a big insurance run. Norland, which finished 13-9 and was looking for only its second-ever berth in the regional playoffs, scored its only run in the third when Dylan Belle doubled and eventually scored on a Springs error.
“I felt good all day because I had good command of my fast ball and I was really hitting my spots,” said Cervantes. “Even though the game was close I never really felt any pressure because I knew I could get the outs we needed.”