The Coral Gables softball team took an underdog route on its way to winning the District 15-8A crown on Thursday.
The Cavaliers, who entered the district tournament as a three seed, took down Ferguson 5-3 in the championship game. The Falcons beat Gables so badly during a regular-season matchup that the mercy rule had to be applied.
Chanel Wilson picked up the win for the Cavaliers (11-11) and also contributed from the plate, going 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
“I think we really had nothing to lose,” Gables coach Natalie Carreno said. “We came out with a let’s-prove-it mentality.”
The Cavaliers proved that they were a better team than their record suggested. On their road to the championship they had to go through Southwest, another team that mercy-ruled them earlier in the season, in the semifinals in order to advance to the final.
“After Southwest, my team realized we could have easily beaten them,” Carreno said. “We had the confidence [Thursday] to finish the game. Southwest really fueled the fire.”
According to Carreno, the Cavaliers expect to be looked upon as underdogs when they start play in the regional tournament, and she hopes her team can continue to thrive with that label.
“We need to keep up the mentality that people don’t think we can do it,” Carreno said. “There’s no real pressure on us to win. People don’t expect us to go anywhere.”
•District 15-6A championship — Goleman 8, Miami Springs 4:
Usually when you’re down by four runs in the fifth inning going up against one of the best pitchers in the county, that spells certain defeat.
But nobody bothered to tell the Goleman Gators that as they rallied for eight runs in the final three innings off Miami Springs pitcher Geneva Santos to win their second consecutive district title at Slade Park.
Freshman Emily Bacallao came through with a two-out RBI single in the top of the sixth that proved to be the winning run. Goleman (15-9) will host Doral Academy or Mater Academy in a regional quarterfinal on April 26 at 7 p.m. at Slade Park.
WP: Juan Casanova. LP: Hairst. Top performers: E. Zarzadal 3-4, RBI, 2B. J. Zarzadal 2-3, 2 RBI. Giancarlos Silveril 2-3. HM 9-12.
•Gulliver 4, American Heritage 2:
WP: M. Gonzalez (4-2). LP: Mitchell. S: Jonathan Perez. Top performers: Mikey Gonzalez 6 IP, 4 Ks, 4 Hs, no ER Gio Soto 2-3, 2B, RBI, R Justin Fernandez 2-3, R.
BOYS’ WATER POLO
The Gulliver boys’ water polo team is looking to return to the championship form of two years ago after falling to eventual state champion St. Thomas Aquinas in the quarterfinals last season.
Gulliver took the first step Thursday, coasting to a 15-3 win against TERRA in the District 16 final to advance to a first-round state play-in against the District 14 winner that will take place Tuesday.
The host Raiders (20-6) were led by senior captain Jonathan Chow, who had four goals.
•Girls’ District 16 final — Gulliver 20, TERRA 7:
Behind four goals from eighth-grader Shani Rupp, host Gulliver (24-1) took down TERRA for the district crown and a first-round state play-in berth. Andrea Guerra had nine blocks while Camila Schafer and Maggie Rodriguez added three goals apiece.
•Hialeah Gardens d. American 25-8, 25-14, 25-11:
Javier Valdes 10 points, 15 digs, 15 kills. Alexis Gonzalez 7 aces, 12 points, 12 kills. Josue Fonseca 10 points, 10 kills, 12 digs. HG 10-5.
•Mourning d. Krop 25-9, 25-20, 25-12:
Matheus Mera 11 kills, 4 aces, block, 12 assists, 6 digs. Daniel Barrera 9 kills, 2 aces, 4 digs. Pedro Carvalho 5 kills, 2 blocks, dig, assist. MOU 14-6.
•Southwest d. Miami High 26-24, 25-8, 25-11:
Joseph Perez 31 assists, 3 digs. Ricardo Reguera 13 kills, 9 digs. William Rodriguez 10 kills, 4 digs. SW 21-1.
•Braddock d. SLAM 25-20, 25-21, 25-17:
Emanuelle Garcia 11 kills. Rensel Cabrera 10 kills, 9 kills, 3 aces. Angel Jover 27 assists.
•Hialeah-Miami Lakes d. Miami Springs 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 29-27:
Mike Roman 16 kills, 14 digs, 7 blocks, 6 aces. Josue Espinoza 5 kills, 42 assists, 12 digs, 8 blocks. Andres Carvajal 15 kills, 6 digs. Eddy Moreira 26 digs. HML 12-5.
•Palmetto 11, Coral Reef 4:
Dylan Silverman 3 goals, 4 assists. Tommy David 2 goals. Pete Wall 2 goals. Jared Cullins won 9 of 12 faceoffs. Thomas Santos 1o saves. PAL 8-3. Faces Columbus on Tuesday in regional final.
TRACK AND FIELD