As a catcher, junior Miguel Presno hasn’t often had to run the bases in his high school career.
Flanagan’s baseball team was glad to have him on the base path between third base and home plate Saturday night.
Presno scored the winning run on a ground ball by Oscar Rodriguez in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Flanagan to a 2-1 walk-off victory over visiting Archbishop McCarthy in a matchup of teams ranked in the top 10 nationally in several polls.
The Falcons (19-1), ranked No. 2 by USA Today, won their seventh consecutive game and snapped McCarthy’s winning streak at 18 games. The Mavericks (21-2), four-time reigning state champions, entered the game as MaxPreps’ top-ranked team in the nation.
“It’s a dramatic way to win, but we would have rather gotten a hit there to win it,” Flanagan coach Ray Evans said. “We did it though. That was probably the best game you will see this season in Broward County.”
With runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Presno got the green light to take off for home. Presno broke for the plate after Rodriguez, Flanagan’s senior center fielder, hit a chopper toward third base. Presno stopped midway, juked and somehow evaded a lunging tag attempt by McCarthy third baseman Alex Rodriguez and scampered home with the winning run.
“Once it started getting deeper in the count, I was told you’re going on the pitch,” Presno said. “I went full speed and did what I did. Up until this year, I never really ran bases, but I used to play running back in football so maybe that’s where it came from.”
Presno opened the inning with a leadoff double down the left field line off Archbishop McCarthy starting pitcher Brian Gonzalez. The Mavericks’ ace gave up four hits in 6 1/3 innings and was removed after striking out Andres Rios on the next at-bat.
McCarthy right fielder Aaron Soto moved to pitch in relief, walked Luis Barranco and gave up the chopper to Rodriguez that drove in Presno.
Gonzalez struck out nine and gave up only four hits, but surrendered three walks and hit three batters.
His counterpart, Gentry Fortuno, remained perfect for the past three seasons as a Flanagan pitcher. Fortuno improved to 24-0 during that span and 7-0 this season, striking out eight over seven innings.
“It was an intense game and my changeup was on and was my out pitch,” Fortuno said. “Honestly, I try not to think about anything out there. I bring the same intensity whether we’re up big or it’s close or we’re behind.”
Fortuno gave up seven hits, but the only costly one came in the top of the fourth when McCarthy catcher Ryan Sinzenich belted a solo home run to left-center field to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead.
Flanagan answered quickly in the bottom half of the inning when David Sarmiento singled to center field to drive in Mark Vientos and tie the score at 1. Vientos reached base on the first of two McCarthy errors in the game.
In the top of the fourth, Sarmiento made a great defensive play just prior to Sinzenich’s home run when he made a sliding catch to take away a hit from Alex Rodriguez. Sarmiento then doubled up Alex Toral at first base for a double play.
“If you take a look at our schedule it’s been tough all season and we came through a tough three-game week,” Evans said.
“The next two opponents we have aren’t pushovers so a win against [McCarthy] is always huge.”
WP: Gentry Fortuno (7-0). LP: Brian Gonzalez.
WP: Cleveland Westbrook (5-3), 2 IP, hit, run, 2 K’s. Top performers: Cleveland Westbrook Jr. 3-5, HR, 3 R, 3 SB, 2 RBI. Dillon Belle 4-5, double, 3 RBI. Roderick Lucas Jr. 3-4, 2B, 3B, 2R, RBI. Jordan Owens 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI.
WP: Kelli Kleis (16-2). LP: K. Ramsey. Top performers: Caitlin Charlton 3-3, 5 RBI, 2 doubles. Brittany Husk 2-4, Grand Slam, 3 runs. Kaitlyne Musa 2-3, 2 RBI, 3 runs. WC 21-3.
WP: Kelli Kleis (15-2). LP: Shaw. Top performers: Carlin Labuzan 3-3, 2 RBI. Rachel Valdes 3-3, RBI, 2 runs. Brittany Husk 3-4, 2 runs, double. WC 20-3.
WP: Emily Perretta, 7 IP, 8 K’s. Top performers: Kathryn Garcia 2-2, 2 SB. Erica Denis 2-3 hits, 2 SB. Cristina Ayerdis 2-3. Michelle Green 2-4.
•Doral 12, Marathon 2:
WP: Jennifer Acevedo (7-3), 5IP, 3H, 5K, 1ER. Top performers: Sydney Lageyre 3-3, 3R, 2 RBI. Melody Grafals 3-4, 3 RBI. Jennifer Acevedo 1-3, 2 RBI. DOR 16-6.
•Palm Beach Classic: SLAM d. Palm Beach Lakes 25-15, 25-17:
Yancel Betancourt 3 blocks, 7 points. Tommy Young 5 kills, 3 blocks. Alain Martell 10 points.
•Palm Beach Classic (Copper Bracket final): SLAM d. West Boca 25-15, 27-25:
Yancel Betancourt 10 kills, 4 blocks, 7 points. Tommie Young 10 kills, 3 blocks. Alain Martell 7 points.
GIRLS’ WATER POLO
•Cardinal Gibbons 14, West Broward 9: WB (6-8):
Juliette Cusano 6 goals, 8 draw controls. Natassija Ragbeer 2 goals, 7 ground balls.
Pine Crest vs. Gulliver Prep, 3:30
Doral Academy vs. St. Brendan, 3:30
Mater Lakes vs. Mater Academy, 5:00
Brito Miami vs. Pace, 7:00
SLAM vs. Hialeah Educational, 7:00
American Prep vs. SLAM, 3:30
North Miami Beach vs. Carol City, 3:30
Reagan vs. Braddock, 3:30
Homestead vs. Varela, 3:30
Champagnat vs. Westwood Chris., 4:00
Somerset Charter vs. Dade Chris., 4:00
LaSalle vs. Westminster Chris., 4:00
Krop vs. Mourning, 6:00
Highlands Christian vs. Brito Miami, 7:00
Chaminade-Madonna vs. Florida Chris., 7:00