Gulliver’s baseball team was looking for some team chemistry around midseason.
The Raiders found it — in Arizona.
Ever since a stellar performance in late March at the Horizon National tournament that was highlighted by a historic nine-home run week by senior shortstop Joe Dunand, Gulliver has become one of the hottest teams in Miami-Dade County.
The Raiders continued that surge Thursday night, blanking host Florida Christian 2-0 in a Region 4-4A quarterfinal.
Junior Davis Brown went five innings and combined with junior Mike Gonzalez and freshman Rob Touron on a four-hit shutout as the Raiders advanced to play either Key West or St. Brendan in Tuesday’s regional semifinals.
Gulliver (20-8) has won 15 of its past 17 games dating to mid-March, thanks largely to its clutch pitching staff that does not have one senior.
“Our pitching staff has been outstanding all season, and we’ve relied on it a lot,” Gulliver coach Javy Rodriguez said. “That whole Arizona trip changed us as a team. It really brought us together.”
The Raiders struggled to find some timely hitting, stranding six baserunners through the first three innings.
But Gulliver finally broke through in the fourth when Alex Erro dropped in a single to right field to score German Marcos with the first run of the game. Things got worse for Florida Christian, however, when the ball got past right fielder Erik Montero, allowing Erro to reach third. Erro then scored on a wild pitch from Patriots starter Alex Valverde.
Florida Christian (20-8), a state semifinalist in Class 3A last season, loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth. But Touron answered with back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
GP 000 200 0 – 2 7 0
FC 000 000 0 – 0 4 2
WP: Davis Brown. LP: Alex Valverde.
•Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Mater Academy 6, Goleman 2:
Things certainly didn’t start well for the Mater Academy Lions baseball team, but they sure ended well.
Sloppy play, including two errors that led to two unearned runs in the top of the first that put them in a 2-0 hole against Goleman, was overcome by timely hitting and a great pitching performance out of University of Miami commit Michael Mediavilla as Mater prevailed at St. Thomas University.
The Lions (15-9) advance to the regional semifinals, where they will travel to Miami Springs High School next Tuesday for a 4 p.m. contest.
GOL 200 000 0 – 2 4 1
MAT 100 113 x – 6 8 3
WP: Mike Mediavilla (6-3); LP: Kevin Perez (1-3). Top performers: MAT — Raul Frias 2 for 4, 2 RBI; Angel Ortiz 2 for 4, RBI. GOL — Kevin Gomez 2 for 3, RBI, Daniel Guerro 1 for 3, RBI.
Region 8-7A quarterfinal: Miami Springs 4, Belen 0: Going up against a 24-7 team in Belen Jesuit and a pitcher with a perfect 10-0 record in Pablo Arevalo probably should’ve been a season-ender for underdog Miami Springs.
But nobody bothered to tell the Golden Hawks or their starting pitcher David Cervantes the news as Springs played a near-perfect game upsetting the Wolverines 4-0 in a Region 4-6A quarterfinal contest Thursday afternoon at Springs High School. Springs (17-7) will host Mater Academy next Tuesday at 4 p.m in a reginal semifinal.
Cervantes was virtually unhittable and in fact took not only a no-hitter into the sixth inning but had faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings before Belen’s Marcos Perez led off the sixth with a double to right center ruining his no-hitter attempt.
Springs got their star pitcher all the runs they would need by scoring three times in the last of the fourth when, following an RBI single by Carlos Santana, scored twice more on back-to-back doubles by Austin Voeller and Domingo Cedano.
BEL 000 000 0 – 0 1 0
MS 000 301 x – 4 10 0
WP: David Cervantes (9-2); LP: Pablo Arevalo (10-1). Top performers: MS: Austin Voeller 3-for-3, 2 2Bs, RBI, Carlos Santana 2-for-3, RBI; BEL: Marcos Perez 1-for-2, 2B.
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Killian 6, Coral Gables 5: Eddy Demurias made four huge plays for the Cougars in a narrow walk-off win over the Cavaliers Thursday at Killian Senior High. Killian (25-4) will host South Dade Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Region 4-8A semifinal.
Demurias hit a single to left to drive in the winning run in the seventh. In addition to his walk-off RBI, Demurias hit a home run in the third and pitched relief in the seventh, with a strikeout to end the top of the seventh.
CG 0-1-1-0-1-2-0 - 5-8-0
KI 0-0-3-0-2-0-1 - 6-12-5
WP: Ryan Granda (11-0), 8 Ks. LP: Andrew Cabeza (6-5), 8 Ks. Top performers: Demurias 3-4, HR, 4 RBI, double. Levine 3-4, HR, 2 RBI, Double.
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Flanagan 2, Miami Beach 1 (9 innings): Using a pitcher who threw much better than his 0-5 record would indicate, plus some timely gems on defense, unheralded Miami Beach went toe-to-toe against nationally ranked Flanagan, taking the Falcons to extra innings.
But Flanagan survived the scare and is breathing a sigh of relief.
In the bottom of the ninth, Luis Barranco (hitless in his prevous four at-bats, including three strikeouts) hit a two-out single that was misplayed by the left fielder, allowing David Vasquez to score from second for a 2-1 victory over the High Tides in Thursday's FHSAA first round of the Class 8A playoffs.
The Falcons (23-1) will face Miami Senior High in Tuesday's round of 16. Miami Beach closed their season at 8-13.
MB 000 100 000 -- 1 5 3
F 001 000 001 -- 2 7 1
WP: Fortuno (9-0), LP: Brattain (2-2)