A team that hit 47 home runs this season saw its championship hopes fade away in 47 minutes.
Doral Academy, which became one of the top power-hitting teams in South Florida this season on its way to its first state baseball finals appearance, registered only one hit on Wednesday night.
And it made very little difference after one nightmarish inning settled the outcome quickly in an 11-1 loss to Venice High in five innings in a Class 7A state semifinal.
Venice (25-8), a four-time state champion which advanced to play Santa Rosa Pace on Thursday in the final, plated nine runs in the bottom of the second inning on the strength of six hits, three walks and one costly Doral error.
Venice was up to bat for 47 minutes in that frame, adding another couple of runs in the fourth to put itself in position to mercy rule Doral in the fifth inning.
Kevin Figueredo’s two-out single in the fifth scored the Firebirds’ only run.
But Venice starter Orien Kerkering, a University of South Florida commit, finished off his five-inning complete game in which he struck out 10 and walked three against Doral’s potent lineup.
“You can’t walk people, it’s a single game,” Doral coach Ralph Suarez said. “There were a couple of little plays there in that inning that if we make them, it changes the whole complexion of the game.”
Doral starter Adrian Figueroa struggled with command from the outset and lasted only 1 1/3 innings despite only giving up one hit after he walked five batters.
Figueroa was charged with Venice’s first four runs of the second inning as the Indians broke the game open on a two-run double by Mitch Donofrio and a two-run single by Mac Guscette.
Figueroa, a sophomore and FIU commit, had entered the game with a 7-3 record and a 1.82 ERA.
“I didn’t bring my A-game,” Figueroa said. “I didn’t hit my spots. I was all over the place. I need to be better.”
Victor Cabrera entered in relief of Figueroa, but didn’t fare much better, giving up six hits. A dropped fly ball by third baseman Dominic Pitelli extended the inning and allowed Venice to pile on three more runs.
With five starters graduating and eight seniors overall, Doral Academy figures to have a core group returning that can contend once again next season.
“That’s what it’s about, baby steps,” Figueroa said. “We got here. We learn from this and now we have to get back.”