Daniel Ruiz’s bases-loaded triple jump-started a five-run sixth inning in Douglas’ 6-5 comeback victory over Cooper City in a Region 3-4A quarterfinal on Thursday at Coral Springs.
“I’m a senior, and I didn’t want the season to end,” Ruiz said. “I’ve been working on going opposite field the last three practices, and I just got up there trying to get the big hit.”
The Eagles (17-8) faced a 5-0 deficit in the first inning before picking up a run in the third inning. After the Cowboys (17-7) chased Eagles starter Jesus Luzardo out of the game, Jake Miednik tossed six innings of shutout baseball with nine strikeouts.
“I just told them to keep grinding,” Eagles coach Todd Fitz-Gerald said. “I said, ‘we aren’t going home. We have worked too hard and put too much time in. We are going to win this game. They fought and fought. It was nothing I did; it’s what they did.”
After Ruiz’s triple, the Cowboys misfielded a deep drive to left field to tie the game at 5. The tying run was caught at home in the next at-bat before Colton Welker’s two-out RBI single gave the Eagles the lead.
“Our coach told us, ‘it’s not over, we are a great team,’ ” Ruiz said. “We just kept fighting and weren’t going down without a fight. It’s the playoffs. We don’t want to lose.”
Dominic DiCaprio was 3 for 4 with a triple in the victory. Max Boling was 2 for 4 for the Eagles. Tyler Sabine surrendered three runs and three hits in the loss.
“Honestly, it’s a sense of relief,” Fitz-Gerald said. “Not that we took them lightly, by any means. We went with Miednik, who has been nice for us out of the pen. We told our kids they aren’t going to score again.”
Douglas plays Taravella on Tuesday in a regional semifinal matchup.
“It was just a great team win,” Fitz-Gerald said. “We are young in a lot of areas. We’ve lost six games by one run. [Thursday night], we finally won a one-run game.”