Rolando Casanova, a former assistant baseball coach at FIU, passed away last weekend, losing a long fight with prostate cancer.
He was 57 and is survived by his wife of 36 years, Sylvia, two sons, Adrian and Gabriel, both of who played minor-league baseball, and two grandchildren.
“He was a very loyal and passionate person,” said Adrian Casanova, who played for Clemson in the College World Series and is now an area scout for the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. “He tried to do right by everyone.”
Rolando Casanova, who left FIU in 2003, served as a scout for the Detroit Tigers for the past 11 years.
The Tigers honored him by announcing his name before a game earlier this week and asking for a moment of silence.
“Baseball lost a good man, and a lot of people lost a good friend,” said Miami Dade College coach Danny Price, who was Casanova’s colleague at FIU for 22 years.
Price skipped MDC’s game on Wednesday to attend funeral services for Casanova.
“It’s emotional for me,” Price said. “But it’s emotional for a lot people. He had a lot of friends.”
Casanova was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but the disease was under control until this past fall, when treatment was no longer working.
The baseball team (24-13) was ranked as high as sixth in the nation in Division II this season. But a recent six-game losing streak knocked NSU out of the top 25.
NSU ranks third in the Sunshine State Conference in ERA (3.16), fifth in batting average (.299) but ninth and last in fielding percentage.
Center fielder and leadoff batter Geoff Jimenez of NSU tops the conference with 26 steals and has only been caught twice. He has a .399 on-base percentage.
Other NSU standouts are second baseman Alex Fernandez, who is hitting .331 and has a 1.98 ERA as a reliever; and closer Ronald Patella, who is 2-0 with five saves and a 0.38 ERA. Fernandez is the reigning South Region Player of the Week, and Patella is allowing batters to hit just .163 against him.
The baseball team (23-16) is in the same brutal conference as NSU. The conference is led by defending national champion Tampa, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation and has an absurd 39-2 record. Some say Tampa is the best Division II team in the past quarter-century.
In addition, Lynn (32-8) is ranked eighth in the nation, Florida Southern (26-13) is No. 26 and unranked Saint Leo (27-12) has won 13 games in a row.
Barry is hitting .305 and ranks third in the league in runs scored but is last in ERA (5.02).
Sheehan Planas-Arteaga, a junior outfielder from Belen, leads the conference in on-base percentage (.506) and walks. The Barry standout also ranks second in doubles (15) and batting average (.385) and is tied for third in homers (6) and runs scored (37).
Miami Dade College
The baseball team (26-14), which has won 14 of its past 16 games, is in first place in the Southern Conference and ranked fifth in the state among junior colleges. MDC, led by freshmen middle infielders Bryan Colon at shortstop and Darren Serefina at second base, will begin state playoffs May 9 in Lakeland.
Junior left-hander Emilio Ogando was named the NAIA National Pitcher of the Week after beating the NAIA’s No. 13 team, Embry-Riddle, with a two-hit, no-walk shutout, striking out eight. Ogando (7-1, 2.01 ERA) leads the Sun Conference with 88 strikeouts.