Andrew Cabezas knew something had to be done to fix the Coral Gables’ baseball team’s early season woes.
Call a team meeting, and tell everybody to get blond-dyed Mohawk haircuts?
“We all started the season with a lot of hype after we were ranked No. 3 in the country,” Cabezas said. “We knew we were a good team, but things went downhill early, and we lost three in a row. We needed to bring the whole group together. I told them, ‘Let’s all of us get Mohawks and start playing as a team.’”
Whether it was the hairstyle or the message, the Cavaliers have been better since, winning their 13th consecutive game — the longest active streak by any team in South Florida — on Tuesday afternoon with a 6-0 victory over host Braddock in a District 15-8A semifinal.
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Coral Gables (18-5) advanced to the regional playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and will face Columbus for the district championship at 3 p.m. Thursday at Braddock.
Cabezas (a University of Miami signee) threw six solid innings, allowing only two hits and striking out 10.
Elijah Eusebio hit a two-run double down the left field line in the first inning to open the scoring. Leading 2-0 in the second inning, Anthony Valdes hit a triple to right center field that scored Coco Montes. A batter later, Jordan Morina drove in two more runs on a sharp single to center.
“This was nice and we’re one step further, but we really want this Thursday,” Coral Gables coach Phil Wisser said. “We know we’ll face a quality program for sure, but after all these years making regionals, it’s time these kids feel what it’s like to pile on the mound and win a championship and we’re going to work as hard as we can to get it done. ”
▪ District 15-8A semifinal — Columbus 12, Ferguson 6: Following a bases-clearing triple by Ferguson’s Alex Vasquez that put the Falcons ahead 6-2 in the fourth, the Explorers scored five in the bottom half of the inning and 10 unanswered runs overall to keep their season alive.
FER 001 500 0 – 6 6 1
COL 002 541 x – 12 9 1
WP: Chris Coipel. LP: Michel Parrillo.
▪ District 15-8A semifinals — Coral Gables 6, Braddock 0:WP: Andrew Cabezas 6IP, 2H, 10 K’s. LP: Alex Martinez. Top Performers: Elijah Eusebio 2-4, 2 RBI. Jordan Morina 1-2, 3 RBI. Coco Montes 1-2, 2 R. Elih Marrero 1-2, 2 R, 3B. Anthony Valdes 1-3, 2 R, RBI, 3B. CG 18-5. BRA 15-9.
▪ District 15-4A quarterfinals — Mater Lakes 2, La Salle 1:WP:Hernandez.LP:Blanco.
▪ District 15-4A quarterfinals — Florida Christian 22, Booker T. Washington 0. FC 15-10.
▪ Second round play-in game — St. Thomas Aquinas 21, Gulliver 8: Aquinas (19-0) routed host Gulliver (14-5) to advance to Saturday’s state quarterfinals.
Gulliver led 2-1 lead, but Aquinas went on a 14-2 run to gain a 15-3 halftime advantage.
Leading the way for Aquinas were four players with four goals each: Towson recruit J.P. Crowley, his younger brother, Hofstra recruit Kevin Crowley, Maryland recruit Alex Tumminello and Furman recruit Louie Yovino.
“This was a great win, going on the road and beating a good team,” said J.P. Crowley, a senior who also had a game-high four assists.
Aquinas, the last remaining playoff team from Dade or Broward, hopes to become the first school from the two-county area to win a state title in boys’ lacrosse.
Since lacrosse became an official FHSAA sport in 2008, Boca Raton’s St. Andrew’s has won four championships. Orlando’s Lake Highland Prep won the other three, including the two most recent.
Aquinas made it to the 2014 state semifinals. This year, Aquinas is ranked No. 1 in the state.
“We’re healthier this year, and I think we’re in better shape,” said Crowley, who is hoping to lead his team to the state semifinals and final, which will be held May 1-2 at Bradenton’s IMG Academy. “We changed the offense going into the season.
“We don’t want to look ahead. You dream about playing in the big game against St. Andrew’s or whatever. But right now, we are focused on our next opponent. We’ll get there when we get there.”
▪ HML d. SLAM (25-15, 25-19, 25-22):Cardona 4 kills, 17 digs.Centurion 14 digs.Castillo 4 kills, 7 blocks.Zamora 6 kills, 10 assists, 5 digs. HML 5-12.
▪ Monarch d. Taravella (13-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-17): Padredi 10 kills, 3 blocks, 4 digs. Drexl 39 assists, 7 points, 3 aces, 4 kills, 5 digs. MON 20-2.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy d. Chaminade (25-23, 22-25, 26-24, 25-11): Moreiras 12 points, 18 kills, 21 digs. Vazquez 16 points, 15 digs, 43 assists. AM 17-7.
District 11-8A quarterfinal at Taravella: Deerfield Beach vs. Coral Springs, 1; Semifinal: Coral Glades vs. Taravella, 4:30
District 12-8A semifinals at Cypress Bay: Piper vs. Cypress Bay, 4; Western vs. Cooper City, 6:30
District 13-8A semifinal at Flanagan: Everglades vs. Flanagan, 4
District 14-8A final at Flamingo Park: Hialeah vs. Miami High, 7
District 16-8A semifinal at Coral Reef: Palmetto vs. Varela, 3:30
District 14-7A semifinal: Northeast at Fort Lauderdale, 7
District 15-7A semifinals at South Broward: Nova vs. Plantation, 4; St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Hollywood Hills, 7
District 14-6A final at Pines Flamingo Park: Boynton Beach vs. Pembroke Pines Charter, 7
District 15-6A semifinals at Florida Memorial University: Mourning vs. Miami Springs, 1; Goleman vs. Norland, 3:30
District 16-6A semifinal: Doral Academy at Belen Jesuit, 3:30
District 16-5A semifinals at Archbishop McCarthy: American Heritage vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 4; Pompano Beach vs. Archbishop McCarthy, 7
District 14-4A quarterfinals at Nova Southeastern University: North Broward Prep vs. Coral Springs Charter, 4; Chaminade vs. Somerset, 7
District 15-4A semifinals at Monsignor Pace: St. Brendan vs. Florida Christian, 4; Monsignor Pace vs. Mater Lakes, 7
District 16-4A semifinal: Tavernier Coral Shores at Gulliver, 4
District 14-3A quarterfinal at Westminster Academy: Lake Worth Christian vs. Highlands Christian, 4; Semifinal: Oxbridge vs. Lake Worth Trinity Christian, 7
District 15-3A semifinals at Slade Park: Hialeah Educational vs. Sagemont, 4; Westwood Christian vs. SLAM Academy, 7
District 16-3A semifinal at Westminster Christian: Archbishop Carroll vs. Palmer Trinity, 4
District 15-2A semifinal: Champagnat Catholic at Miami Christian, 4
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: S. Broward at American, 4
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Reagan at Aquinas, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Royal Palm Beach at Monarch, 4
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Fort Lauderdale at West Boca Raton, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Palm Bay Bayside at American Heritage, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Archbishop McCarthy at Riviera Beach Suncoast, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal at Palmetto Bay Park: Westminster Christian vs. SLAM, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Lake Worth Trinity Christian at Westminster Academy, 7
Region 4-3A quarterfinal: Coral Springs Christian at Lake Worth Christian, 4
TRACK AND FIELD
Region 3-4A at Jupiter – Field: 1; Running prelims: 4; Finals: 6:30
Region 4-2A at Ansin Sports Complex - Field: 11 a.m.; Running prelims: 3; Running finals: 7