While most high school kids were at the beach celebrating spring break, Gulliver Prep’s Joe Dunand was hitting home runs.
Dunand, an N.C. State commitment, made his presence felt in the batters box during Gulliver’s third-place finish at the Horizon National Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., this past week.
In five games, Gulliver went 4-1 and Dunand batted a head-turning .833 (10 for 12) at the plate with nine home runs. Inexplicably, opposing pitchers kept throwing him balls to hit and Dunand did just that — his last eight swings were all home runs.
Dunand’s offensive explosion was so impressive that the opposing coaches decided to award him as the tournament’s Offensive MVP before the championship game was played.
“It’s the most unbelievable thing,” Gulliver coach Javier Rodriguez said. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It looked like a video game at one point. It didn’t matter what they were trying to throw at him, everything was gone.”
Rodriguez, a former All-American infielder at the University at Miami, thought he had seen it all before Dunand’s performance.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Rodriguez said. “His last eight swings were home runs. Everyone was in awe.”
Rodriguez believes Dunand, the nephew of New York Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez, will have a hard time duplicating or even matching his performance.
“I hope he continues what he was doing out here, but nothing is going to top this. Not even if he is a major-league 15-year All-Star, he won’t be able to top this.”
Dunand was in awe his performance, too.
“I was surprised, but I wasn’t complaining,” Dunand said. “I was just letting it happen. I was seeing the ball very well. I just hit it and it kept going every time.”
Dunand’s performance was the driving force behind Gulliver’s impressive finish at the tournament. He believes the strong outing in Arizona can lead to a playoff run.
“I think it’s really good for the team, we are coming together at a perfect time,” Dunand said. “It’s looking bright.”
•Mourning 17, Zion 7:
WP: Brandon Rios (1-0). LP: Ayala. Top performers: Nico Zambrano 2-3, double, RBI, run. Jim Varona 3-4, double, RBI, run. Jose Reyes 2-4, RBI, 2 runs. Brandon Rios 2-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs, 3 IP, 1 ER. MOU 5-10.
•Archbishop Carroll 10, Marathon 0:
WP: James Oporta 2-2, 3 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 6 K’s.
LP: Miller. Top performers: Chris Ortega 1-3, 2 runs scored. Anthony Gonzalez 2-3, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI. William Roger 2-4, RBI. ABC 10-6.
•Belen 7, Pace 6:
WP: Paqui Gomez. Top performers: Marcos Perez 3-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 Runs. Christian Ayala 1-1, GW RBI, Alex Cabrera 2-3. Javi Herrera 1-3, RBI, Run. Paqui Gomez 1.1 IP, no runs, 3Ks. Belen 13-4.
•Archbishop McCarthy 9, University School 8:
WP: B. Dimler. LP: L. Flores. Top performers: Liz Vasquez HR, RBI. Jillian Depalo hit, 2 runs, RBI. Andrea Lopez 4 hits, RBI. US: C. Hall HR.
•Archbishop McCarthy 6, Pace 4:
WP: Jillian Depalo.
•Late Thrusday - Mater Lakes 8, Calvary Christian 2:
WP: Alexis Castroman (8-4). LP: Chang. Top performers: Melanie Arauz 3-4, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs. Melissa Luis 2 hits, 2 RBIs. Tyenna Colon hit, 2 runs. ML 9-7.
•Chaminade-Madonna 4, Archbishop McCarthy 3:
1. Dimitri Salzmann 8-2. 2. Chris Wheeler-Sabatino 8-1. 3. Jorge Cervantes 8-3. 4. John Bradley 8-1. 5. Gordon Soto 8-6. Doubles: 1d. Crampton/Vasquez CM 8-2. 2d. Cervantes/ Faxas 8-7 (7-5).
•Archbishop McCarthy 7, Chaminade-Madonna 0:
1. Kelsey Berman 8-3. 2. Raquel Gil 8-4. 3. Gloria Cabrero 8-0. 4. Paola Gonzalez 8-1. 5. Jessica Menendez 8-2. Doubles: 1d. Raquel Gil/Paola Gonzalez 8-3. 2d. Gloria Cabrero, Jessica Menendez 8-0.
•Hebrew Academy 23, Hillel 7:
Rachel Kahn 140 pass yards, TD. Florencia Chami 130 recieving yards, 4 INT, 3 TD. Sol Chami 11 flag pulls. HA 3-3.
•Late Thursday - Park Vista 13, Cardinal Gibbons 7:
CG: Meghan Moran 3 goals. Lia Alverez goal. Michele Miggins goal. Katie Diamond goal. Caroline Kemp goal.