Many felt Killian was Miami-Dade County’s hottest baseball team so far this postseason.
But on Tuesday afternoon, the Cougars ran into the county’s hottest pitcher.
South Dade’s Erik Manoah pitched his second gem of the regional playoffs and the Bucs picked up two runs in the seventh inning to outlast Killian 3-1 in a Region 4-8A semifinal at the Cougars’ home field.
“We came in expecting a dogfight against one of our archrivals and we were ready to play,” Manoah said. “We’re supporting each other as a team right now and doing the little things needed to win.”
Manoah followed up a four-hit, 12-strikeout performance against Columbus in last week’s quarterfinals with a two-hitter in which he struck out nine and allowed only one run.
South Dade (20-6) advanced to its second regional final in the past four seasons and will travel to Pembroke Pines to play Flanagan Friday in the regional final at 7 p.m.
“We’ve just jumped on Manoah’s back and he’s carried us,” South Dade coach Fred Burnside said. “We had some timely hits, but we also had some horrendous baserunning. We overcame them though and that’s the mark of a good ball club.”
Tied at 1 going into the seventh, South Dade loaded the bases with one out off Killian reliever Eddy Demurias.
Jori Rodriguez lined a single to right field that put the Bucs ahead 2-1. Artie Paula followed with another single to drive in a third run, but a base running blunder cost South Dade a chance to get more when Jason Rivero overran the bag at third and Paula was thrown out at second trying to extend the play.
But Manoah didn’t need more.
Despite walking Demurias to lead off the seventh, Manoah bounced back with two strikeouts and got Ryan Sabbag to ground out to end the game.
Killian (24-5), which had beaten South Dade in two of the first the first three meetings this season including the District 16-8A championship game, tied the game in the fifth with two outs on an RBI single by Sneaky Guzman. But Manoah limited the damage getting Danny Cumba to fly out to end the inning.
“The intensity I feel late in the game, I can’t describe it,” Manoah said. “I just feel electric out there as the game goes on and I get a little stronger.”
SD 001 000 2 – 3 5 0
KIL 000 010 0 – 1 2 1
WP: Erik Manoah (9-2). LP: Eddy Demurias.
• Region 4-6A semifinal — Mater Academy 10, Miami Springs 6: With the ghosts of a disastrous collapse against Archbishop McCarthy in last year’s regional semifinal dancing around in their heads, the Mater Academy Lions found a way not to let history repeat itself.
The Lions saw a third inning 5-0 lead with their ace pitcher and University of Miami commit Mike Mediavilla on the mound, disappear quickly.
But, unlike a year ago when McCarthy overcame a 5-0 deficit to score eight runs in the final three innings and issue Mater a crushing loss, the Lions hung on, scoring three times in the top of the seventh to pull away for a 10-6 victory.
And with it, Mater (17-8) advances to its first ever regional final where the Lions will travel to Broward County to take on Pines Charter on May 13.
After Ortiz’s first-inning homer gave his team an early 3-0 lead and the Lions scored twice more in the top of the third to lead 5-0 and chase Springs starter David Cervantes with Mediavilla on the mound, Mater was in great shape.
But Mediavilla struggled in a disastrous 52-pitch third inning that saw him give up a double, two singles, a hit batter and two walks. When the dust had settled, the Golden Hawks (17-7) had scored four times and suddenly it was a one-run game.
MA 302 200 3 – 10 12 1
MS 004 200 0 – 6 8 3
WP: Mike Mediavilla (8-3); LP: David Cervantes (10-3). Top performers: MAT – Angel Ortiz 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI; Danny Reyes 3-for-4, RBI; MS – Marlon Castillo 2-for-3, RBI; Anthony Diaz 2-for-3
• Region 4-2A semifinal — Brito 10, Miami Christian 4: A pair of five-run innings helped the Panthers get past the Victors (8-15-1) at Archbishop Carroll. With the win, Brito will face Zion Lutheran in the regional final.
The first five-run inning came in the second. Pitcher Marco Bolano scored two of the runs on a double.
The game was close going to the sixth as the Panthers lead 5-4.
In the sixth, Brito (21-8) loaded the bases and scored a run on a sacrifice fly. The next four runs were scored on a pair of 2-RBI hits by Kevin Jimenez and Juan Carlos Millan.
MC - 2-1-0-1-0-0-0 4-11-2
BM - 0-5-0-0-0-5-x 10-12-0
WP: Marco Bolano. LP: Elias Bure.
• Region 4-3A semifinal — Westminster Christian 5, Sagemont 1: Bat barrels barely brushed pitches from Westminster Christian ace Ryan Terry in the Warriors 5-1 victory over Sagemont Tuesday in a region 4-3A semifinal game at Tequesta Trace Park.
The Warriors (25-4) got a two-run homerun from Jake Zarrello in the second inning to pull ahead 2-0. The Lions (14-8) pulled closer on Stefan Revelo's RBI single in the third inning to make the score 2-1. Lions ace Andres Vazquez and Terry blanked batters through the next three innings, setting the stage for the seventh inning.
Cole Kreuter hit a double to the center field fence to bring in two runs and the Warriors added another run, for insurance, in the final frame to seal the victory.
Vazquez allowed four earned runs and six hits, while striking out five, in 6.2 innings. The Warriors face Coral Springs ChristianFriday in the region 4-3A finals.
• Region 4-8A semifinal — Flanagan 6, Miami High 4: With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Oscar Rodriguez hit a two-run home run over the left center field wall to propel Flanagan to a 6-4 victory over Miami High (16-10) in a Class 8A regional semifinal Tuesday night.
The Falcons, who lost to Jupiter in the regional final a season ago, will host face South Dade in a regional final on Friday.
Flanagan, ranked third in this week's MaxPreps national rankings, trailed Miami High 4-3 in the fifth until Eric Rivera, who also hit a 2-RBI single in the first, hit a solo home run to straight away center field to tie the game at four.
Then with a man aboard in the sixth, Rodriguez fought back from a 0-2 count against Stingarees' pitcher Andy Escano to drive a curve ball deep for the go-ahead runs to put the Falcons (24-1) in front 6-4, the same pitch he struck out on in the previous at bat.
• Region 4-4A semifinal — Key West 8, Gulliver Prep 6: Host Key West broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the third inning and then hung on to defeat Gulliver Prep.
The Conchs (26-3-1) moved to within a game of the final four in Fort Myers in the middle of the month and within three games of their 12th state title. They will play at North Broward Prep at 7 on Friday night in the regional finals.