Even though he couldn’t celebrate a no-hitter in the traditional way a no-hitter is celebrated on the mound following the last out, American pitcher Alejandro Blanco will take it anyway.
With a 2-0 lead and nursing a no-hit shutout through five innings, Blanco took to the mound as Miami Springs came to bat in the top of the sixth in a GMAC quarterfinal contest at American Tuesday afternoon. But then the rains came hard, forcing umpires to call the contest 20 minutes later, giving the Patriots the 2-0 win because the game had gone the minimum five innings.
American (19-4) will host Columbus on Wednesday in a GMAC semifinal at 3:30.
“My two-seam was really working inside and my slider as well [Tuesday], and that’s what carried me through,” said Blanco who came out of the bullpen a few games ago having not been a starter most of the season. “I was a little bit behind my batters, which wasn’t good and I’ll have to get better at. I try not to worry about when I get the ball. Whenever Coach calls on me, I just have to be ready to go and go out there and do my thing.”
The Patriots got Blanco the only run he would need in the second inning when, after Springs starter Alex Iruela loaded the bases with an infield single by Kris Perez sandwiched by two hit batsmen, Jose Chavez drew a one-out bases-loaded walk.
American plated one more run in the third after Matt Ruiz drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice and raced home from second on a Steven Alvarez base hit to left.
“Alejandro’s been big for us and we’re trying to make him our No. 2 guy now,” said American coach Ricky Gutierrez. “We threw him last week against Killian, and he won that and [Tuesday] he came out and did the job against a good Springs team. We’ve been using him out of the bullpen but we’re trying to work him back in to the starting rotation. He’s been really effective the last two games and if he keeps the ball down, he’ll be able to help us a lot as we head into the playoffs.”
Springs, which fell to 14-9, will host its district tournament next week and host Norland on Tuesday.
American 2, Miami Springs 0: WP: Blanco 3-0; LP: Iruela 4-3. Top performers: AM: Steven Alvarez 2-for-3, RBI.
GMAC quarterfinal – Coral Gables 6, Hialeah Gardens 0 (susp., 3 inn.):The Cavaliers hit two home runs and scored four runs in the top of the third inning before heavy rain forced the suspension of the game Tuesday at Hialeah Gardens.
The game is scheduled to resume at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Hialeah Gardens with the winner then traveling to Southwest High to play Killian at 7 p.m. Killian defeated Goleman 9-5 Tuesday in another semifinal.
Leading 3-0 in the third, the Cavaliers (16-6) took a commanding lead when center fielder German Reyes smacked a three-run home run over the left-center-field fence. The blast came moments after Elijah Eusebio drove in a run on a single to left field.
Designated hitter Elih Marrero hit a two-run home run to nearly the same part of the outfield in the first inning to put Gables ahead 2-0. Gables is trying to secure its sixth consecutive win. Gardens (14-9) entered the tournament as the top seed in District 14-8A.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
WP: Pablo Arevalo. LP: Fred Sultan. Top performers: Fred Sultan CG, 8k's, 3 hits, 1ER. Evan McKendry 2-3, 2B. Arevalo CG, 9Ks, Christian delCastillo 1 for 3, 2B, RBI, run; David Guevara 1 for 3, RBI
•Columbus 5, TERRA 0:
WP: Matt Marini. LP: A. Perez. Top performers: Matt Marini 6 IP, (8-0). Ryan Alvarez 3-4, RBI. Danny Diaz 2-3, RBI. COL 19-4.
•Killian 9, Goleman 5:
WP: Keith Stevens. LP: Trevin Perez. Top performers: Danny Cumba 3-4, HR, 3 runs. Freddy Zamora 3-4, 2 HR. Spencer Levine 2-4, HR, 3 RBI. KIL 21-4.
•Gulliver 2, Pine Crest 0:
WP: Davis Brown (7-2). Top performers: Davis Brown CG shut out, 7 K’s. Justin Fernandez 1-1.
No. 2 seed Goleman was leading Mourning 11-1 in the third inning of Tuesday afternoon’s District 15-6A softball semifinal at Slade Park when the rains came, suspending the contest.
The game will resume on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Slade followed by top-seeded Miami Springs against Carol City in the other semifinal. The two winners will meet in the district title game on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Slade.
•District 3-A: Palmetto 6, Palmer Trinity 4:
Andrew Miranda 2 goals. Ivan Revis goal, 2 assists. Dylan Silverman goal, 2 assists. Tomas Santos 11 saves. PAL 7-3.
•Columbus 14, Belen 6:
Michael Bulnes 5 goals, 3 assists. Alec Carreras 3 goals, 3 assists. Nicky Quintairos 3 goals. Cody Brais 1 goal, 1 assist. Danny Cicarelli 1 goal. Kyle Glaser 1 goal. Mike Perry 2 assists. Danny Rancano 1 assist. Austin Volovar 1 assist. Face-offs James Perry 7 of 10, Mike Perry 3 of 4. Jon Nickas 12 saves. Jeff Eskra 2 saves.
•Florida Christian d. LaSalle 25-22, 25-18, 25-18:
Willmar Gonzalez 4 aces, 12 points, 7 kills, 6 digs. Ace Fernandez 18 kills, 17 digs, 2 aces. Johnny Benitez 6 points, 21 assists. FC 9-10.
•Killian d. Westminster 25-11; 25-20; 25-19:
William Ortiz 4 kills, 13 digs. Jason Harris 25 assists, 6 digs. Jose Martinez 4 kills, 7 blocks. KIL 12-3.