For the first time since he caught the final out — a pop up to shortstop — in the 2001 College World Series, Gulliver Prep Coach Javy Rodriguez is going back to Omaha.
Rodriguez will be there to root on his alma mater, the Miami Hurricanes, but also to see two of the players he has coached at Gulliver — LSU junior catcher Chris Chinea and Miami junior center fielder Ricky Eusebio.
Both players were selected Wednesday in the final day of the 2015 MLB Draft. Chinea was selected in the 17th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Eusebio was picked in the 16th round by the Seattle Mariners.
Chinea, who said he has three semesters left to finish his degree in Sports Administration but plans to sign with the Cardinals, was in the batting cages preparing for the CWS when he got the news.
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“It’s a great opportunity,” Chinea told the Miami Herald. “I was a Marlins fan growing up, but now the Cardinals are my favorite team.”
Miami and LSU could meet in the finals given that they are on opposite sides of the CWS bracket.
“Ricky is one of my best friends,” said Chinea, who has known him since they were 10 years old. “Playing against him for the title would be awesome.”
Rodriguez, meanwhile, left no doubt who he is rooting for.
“C’mon,” he said. “I want Chinea to do well, but I’m a Miami guy.”
Back to school
When highly ranked players go undrafted or are drafted past the 30th round, it’s usually because the signing bonus they were expecting is significantly higher than the value pro teams had placed on their talent.
That’s the case with power-hitting outfielder Danny Reyes, who will likely play for the Florida Gators next season. He was ranked No. 189 among draft prospects yet was picked in the 39th-round by the Red Sox. He was selection No. 1,161, way below his expected value.
St. Thomas Aquinas center fielder Jawuan Harris, ranked No. 298, was not drafted and will now play football and baseball at Rutgers.
Westminster Christian third baseman Julian Infante, ranked No. 319, will play at Vanderbilt.
Left-hander Danny Garcia, ranked No. 493, is expected to return to the Canes for his junior season, and he will likely be at the top or near the top of their rotation.
It was a highly successful school year for several local colleges, including Division II powers Barry and Nova Southeastern.
Barry won national titles in men’s tennis and women’s rowing and finished second in women’s tennis.
NSU won a national title in men’s golf and finished fifth in women’s golf.
The Sharks’ women’s basketball team made it to the Elite Eight for the third year in a row, and the men’s and women’s swim teams won six individual national titles.
Among other highlights:
▪ Miami had a national champion in men’s diving, made it to the College World Series in baseball and made the NCAA Tournament second round in women’s basketball and volleyball.
In addition, Miami’s men’s basketball team lost in overtime of the NIT title game, the women’s tennis team reached the Sweet 16 for the 10th straight year, and the women’s soccer team has a player currently competing for Colombia in the World Cup.
▪ FIU’s baseball team won its conference tournament and qualified for an NCAA regional, and the Panthers’ sand volleyball team made it to the national quarterfinals.
▪ St. Thomas University’s baseball team finished second at the NAIA World Series.
▪ Among local junior college teams, Broward College finished fourth in the nation in women’s tennis, and Miami Dade College women’s volleyball finished second in the country and softball finished fifth in the nation.