The two heavyweights in District 15-8A baseball squared off again Tuesday night when Columbus hosted Coral Gables and this time there was a winner.
Two weeks after the Explorers and Cavaliers were forced to suspend a game tied at six at Gables because of rain and darkness, Columbus pitcher Matt Marini fired a five-hit complete game shutout leading the Explorers to a 2-0 victory.
And, with the win Columbus (9-2-1) took over first place in the district (5-0-1), while Gables fell to 7-2-1 and 4-1-1. The two teams are scheduled to meet March 31 at Gables to complete the suspended game.
“I told the kids afterward, this is a good win but this is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Columbus head coach Joe Weber. “You don’t want to read too much into it because it’s baseball, Gables is a heckuva team and we’ve still got to go down there and finish that tie game and maybe even see them again in districts and even regionals as well. I’ve had my fair share of times being at the top and knocked off in a one-game situation in districts so all of this is really a process where you’re just trying to position yourself to be in the best situation to make it to regionals.”
Marini got off to a slow start giving up three hits and allowing four base runners in the first three innings, but settled down from there retiring the side in order in the fourth through sixth and, after a two-out base hit by Gables’ German Reyes in the seventh, struck out pinch hitter Jesus Pineda to end the game.
“I was leaving some pitches a little up at the start of the game but I made the adjustment and started bringing everything down and I was okay after that,” said Marini who moved his record to 3-0 and has yet to give up an earned run. “Gables is a good team and I’m actually a little shocked I was able to shut them down the way I did tonight but I’m grateful to my teammates for getting me enough offense to push a few runs across and then great defense in the field.”
The Explorers got Marini the only run he would need in the third when, after getting hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Danny Casals made his way to third after a sacrifice bunt and infield single before scoring on a Pablo De Armas sacrifice fly to left.
Columbus added a second run an inning later when, with Nelson Monpierre on first after a one-out walk, Danny Diaz launched a towering drive off the center field scoreboard for an RBI double. Diaz finished the night 2 for 3, but Columbus registered only two other hits off Gables’ starter and University of Miami committ Andrew Cabezas, who was a tough loser as he struck out eight and gave up just four hits in the complete-game effort.
“It was the biggest game of the year so far for us,” Marini said. “We were really hyped to come in and we know how good Gables is and know we’re going to see them probably a lot more in districts and regionals so it was key for us confidence-wise and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”Reagan 22, North Miami Beach 1:
SOFTBALLDoral 15, Jackson 0: Miami Country Day 23, Archbishop Curley 2: Krop 11, Miami Beach 10: Hialeah High 10, Miami High 1: Florida Christian 15, Booker T. Washington 0: Archbishop Carroll 3, Carrollton 1:
BOYS’ TENNISLaSalle 7, Coral Shores 0: Palmetto 7, Reagan 0: Hebrew 7, SLAM 0: Ferguson 6, Miami High 1: Miami Country Day 5, St. Andrews 2: Hillel 5, Doctors Charter 2:
GIRLS’ TENNISCoral Shores 4, LaSalle 3: Palmetto 7, Reagan 0: Hebrew 4, SLAM 0: Miami High 4, Ferguson 3: Gulliver 7, Carrollton 0: Hillel 5, Doctors Charter 1:
GIRLS’ FLAG FOOTBALLHebrew Academy 33, Hialeah Education Academy 6: Mater Academy 44, International Studies 0:
BOYS’ WATER POLORansom Eeverglades 13, St. Thomas Aquinas 8: Hialeah Gardens 7, Riviera Prep 3.
GIRLS’ WATER POLORansom Everglades 18, St. Thomas Aquinas 3:
BADMINTONPalmetto 6, Killian 4: Varela 5, Palmetto 5:
BOYS’ LACROSSEColumbus 19, Gulliver Prep 15: Palmer Trinity 14, Killian 1:
BOYS’ VOLLEYBALLFerguson d. St. Brendan 25-22, 25-18, 27-25: Miami High d. Westland 25-8, 25-8, 25-9: Ransom d. Columbus 25-21, 28-26, 25-15: Sunset d. Braddock- 25-15, 25-14, 25-23: Palmetto d. Coral Reef 25-16 25-18 25-17: Pace d. Krop 25-15, 25-20, 25-22: Westminster d. Southridge 25-14, 25-14, 25-13:
BOYS’ TRACK AND FIELDBelen 172, Westminster Christian 70, Coral Reef 65, LaSalle 30.5, Pace 22.5, Barrington Christian 11, Northwest Christian 9, Mater 3: