South Dade has been among Miami-Dade County’s best baseball schools for the past six years.
If the school’s festivities Thursday morning were any indication, this spring could be special for the Bucs.
South Dade, which won its first state title in baseball in 2013, had four of its top players sign with Division-I schools as part of the early signing period for all non-football sports.
First baseman/pitcher AK Manoah, one of the county’s top prospects, signed with West Virginia. Manoah, who was a part of the state championship team as a sophomore along with his older brother, Erik, hit .442 last season with three home runs and 27 RBI.
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"I’m really excited about the chance to compete for a spot right away at first base and they told me as a freshman I might be able to come in and try to earn a spot as maybe a midweek starter," Manoah said. "Their coaching style is very similar to coach [Fred] Burnside here at South Dade so I felt really comfortable."
Catcher Gabe Cruz, who hit .536 with 23 runs scored and 21 RBI, signed with Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which plays in the Northeast Conference.
"I wanted to go somewhere I felt wanted and have an opportunity to play as a freshman," Cruz said. "I went on an unofficial visit and experienced the cold. It’s not bad. I can adjust."
Pitcher Chris Gomez, who transferred from Varela, signed with Pittsburgh, and third baseman Danny Vaughan signed with Charleston Southern.