Belen Jesuit has been in close games throughout the season in the very competitive District 16-6A.
The Wolverines came through nearly all of those encounters victorious.
And Monday afternoon that experience paid off as Belen held off TERRA 4-3 to advance to the district championship game and clinch a berth in next week’s regional quarterfinals.
Belen (20-6) beat TERRA for the third time this season, winning each time by one run. The Wolverines advanced to regionals for the sixth consecutive season and will host either Mater Academy or Doral Academy on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the district final. Mater will play Doral on Tuesday in the other district semifinal at Belen at 4 p.m.
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Belen reliever Eric Artigues picked up the save and was key to the victory after TERRA (15-9) scored two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to cut Belen’s 4-0 lead to one run. Artigues struck out two in 1 1/3 innings.
David Guevara went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI to lead Belen at the plate. Ryan Rodriguez-Mena went 1 for 3 with two RBI and Alex Cabrera scored two runs.
District 15-6A semifinal — Miami Springs 3, Norland 1: Miami Springs will play regional playoff baseball for the first time in five years following a hard-fought victory over Norland at Springs High School.
The Golden Hawks were led by David Cervantes (8-2), who pitched a complete-game one-hitter against a Vikings team looking to make only its second-ever appearance in the regional playoffs.
Springs (15-9) got Cervantes the only two runs he would need in the bottom of the first when Marlon Castillo was hit by a pitch, Juan Kirk walked, Carlos Santana singled Castillo home and Kirk eventually scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Austin Voeller.
Castillo’s RBI single in the last of the fifth scored Anthony Diaz from second, giving Cervantes and the Hawks a big insurance run. Norland, which finished 13-9, scored its only run in the third when Dylan Belle doubled and eventually scored on a Springs error.
The Golden Hawks, the No. 2 seed, will take on either top-seeded Goleman or No. 4 seed Mourning, who meet in the other semifinal on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Springs High School, in the district championship game on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Springs.
NOR 001 000 0 – 1 1 1
MS 200 010 x – 3 5 0
WP: David Cervantes 8-2: LP: Cleveland Westbrook 6-4
Top Performers: MS: Carlos Santana 1-3, RBI; Marlon Castillo 1-3, RBI. NOR: Dylan Belle 1-3, 2B
TERRA 000 021 0 – 3 8 1
Belen 200 200 X – 4 6 1
WP: Pablo Arevalo. SV: Eric Artigues.