Archbishop McCarthy has become so proficient at winning state baseball championships, it’s even perfected its celebratory dog piles.
“It’s funny because you hear the guys talking in the clubhouse watching other games and they’ll sit there and say ‘that was a good pile up, that wasn’t a good pile up,” McCarthy coach Rich Bielski said.
Just as it has for the better part of the past seven seasons, the Mavericks nailed it again Thursday when it came to wrapping up another state title.
The Mavericks piled up on the mound at jetBlue Park for the second consecutive year and celebrated a state title for the sixth time in seven seasons after routing Lynn Haven Mosley 10-4 Thursday night in the Class 6A final.
McCarthy (29-2) became the first team to win as many championships in such a short span, and is one of four South Florida teams along with Key West (11), Westminster Christian (11), Brito (7) and Monsignor Pace (6 entering Thursday night’s Class 5A final) to win six or more state titles all-time.
“This is one of the greatest things in the world knowing that so many players before you started this dynasty,” said All-American junior first baseman Alex Toral. “We heard from a bunch of former [McCarthy] players today telling us ‘to take this thing home,’ and that no matter where they are today, that they still care about this program.”
Bielski won his eighth overall state championship, having won two state titles at Hialeah prior to his hiring at McCarthy. Bielski is now only two championships behind legendary coach Rich Hofman’s state-record 10 titles.
“It’s really not something I think about,” Bielski said. “I really try to enjoy each and every year as they come. I tell them ‘one’, just get ‘one’ and you’re a champion for life and you’ll carry that championship with you forever. The rings drive you. Winning state championships is what drives you and what drives me is wanting to share that with everybody else.”
McCarthy endured a tough start with some clutch relief pitching from senior Austin Genao and more excellent defense from its infield.
Mosley (22-9), a team McCarthy beat in the state final for the third time in the past four seasons, loaded the bases in the first inning and again in the second, but came away with only one run.
It didn’t remain close for long as McCarthy scored seven runs combined over the next two innings to put the game out of reach.
Kobe Lopez, Ubaldo Lopez, Adan Fernandez and Joe Perez, who won his first state title after transferring from American Heritage, each had two hits for McCarthy. Ubaldo Lopez and Perez each had three RBI.
Genao along with freshman Yordani Carmona, juniors Johnny Leone and Jose Martinez and senior Roger Garcia collectively picked up the slack after ace Daniel Federman suffered an arm injury that kept him out most of the season.
“There’s no doubt that when you lose an ace like Daniel, who is another quality kid, that’s a blow to your team and that’s where we all had to come together and everybody had to step it up a little bit in hopes that it would be enough to get here and raise another trophy,” Bielski said.
Genao was at the bottom of the pile up on the mound after he recorded the last out of his 5 2/3-inning appearance in which he struck out three, gave up three unearned runs on six hits and threw 81 pitches.
“The key is you’ve got to take the first person down to the ground,” Bielski said. “You know the guy at the bottom is feeling a thousand pounds on top of him. But [Genao] was hard to take down.”
As the state continues to witness, so is Archbishop McCarthy.
AM 113 410 0 – 10 11 2
MO 100 030 0 – 4 12 2
WP: Austin Genao (5-0). LP: J.J. Bleday (1-2).
If you go
What: The state baseball finals.
When: Through Saturday.
Where: jetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers.
Admission: $9 per day; Parking: $10 for cars; $50 for fan buses.
Thursday’s results – Class 7A semifinals: Venice 3, St. Johns Creekside 2; Tampa Gaither 5, Belen Jesuit 0; Class 6A final: Archbishop McCarthy 10, Mosley 4; Class 5A final: Monsignor Pace vs. Jacksonville Bolles, late.
Friday’s schedule – Class 9A semifinals: Parkland Douglas vs. Winter Garden West Orange, 10 a.m.; Miami Columbus vs. Tampa Alonso, 1; Class 8A semifinals: Oviedo Hagerty vs. Ocala Forest, 4; Westland Hialeah vs. Tampa Steinbrenner, 7.
Saturday’s schedule – Class 7A final: Venice vs. Gaither, 12:35; Class 9A final: 4:05; Class 8A final: 7:35.