All season long ,the Miami Springs baseball team, putting together the first undefeated regular season in program history and being nationally-ranked, has had to play the role of “hunted.”
Goleman was the hunter late Thursday afternoon as the Gators, after suffering two lopsided losses to Springs during the regular season, were looking to try and spring the upset.
But, thanks to some opportunistic offense early on and a clutch relief performance by pitcher Jesus Gonzalez, the Golden Hawks, ranked No. 20 nationally as of last week, survived the upset bid, defeating Goleman 8-2 in a District 16-6A championship game at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School.
Springs (24-1) will host Archbishop McCarthy in a regional quarterfinal game on May 15 at 4 p.m.
While an 8-2 final may not sound close, there were some white-knuckle moments for Springs head coach David Fanshawe and his players.
Most notably in the top of the sixth.
With Springs up 5-2, the Gators (15-10) had the bases loaded with two outs and their best hitter up in the form of Adrian Dominguez when Gonzalez, a freshman who has been the team’s shutdown closer all year, entered the game.
Dominguez fouled off three consecutive fast balls on a 1-2 count before Gonzalez crossed him up and dropped a perfect off speed curve ball over the center of the plate and caught him looking for a punch-out third strike to end the inning.
“People will see the final score and think that we cruised to an easy win but there was nothing easy about this today,” said Fanshawe. “We knew Goleman would come out and battle us from the start and that’s exactly what they did. If that kid (Dominguez) hits one in the gap right there, the game is tied and all bets are off. Jesus has been incredibly clutch for us all season long and showed it out there again today.”
The Hawks added three runs in the sixth, which made for an easy seventh for Gonzalez who closed out the game as Springs won its second consectuive district title for the first time since 2003/04.
“I had thrown him (Dominguez) four straight fast balls so we felt like we might’ve had him set up for a curve ball and Nick (Springs catcher Nick Fuentes) made a great call and I dropped it right in there,” said Gonzalez. “It was definitely a big moment in the game because you could feel them getting the momentum.”
Carlos Rey started on the mound for Springs and, after giving up a run in the first inning, settled down and pitched 5 1/3 solid innings as the Hawks scored one in the first, two in the second and two more in the fourth to build up a 5-1 lead.
Third baseman Bruce Yanez led the way for Springs offensively by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
▪ District 15-9A championship game - Southwest 5, Braddock 4: Jordan Worley GW RBI single; Michael Padron 4 IP, 0 H; Alex Pereira 2 RBI single.
▪ Doral Academy 5, Belen 3: WP - Mario Garcia 6 IP, 6 K, 3 H, 4 BB; Dominic Pitelli 2-3, 2B, R, RBI; Gaby Gutierrez 1-4, 2RBI; Xavier Moronta 1-3, HR, RBI, R; Ronny Medina 1-2, 2 R, 1 IP, 3K, save.
▪ Region 4-4A semifinals: Chaminade-Madonna d. Florida Christian 5-2; Westminster Christian d. Westminster Academy 16-1
▪ Region 4-2A semifinals: Colonial Christian d. Lake Worth Christian 18-0
▪ The United Soccer Coaches Association (formerly the National Soccer Coaches Association of America) named its First Team All-State players from Florida and three Miami-Dade County players made it: Diego Oropeza (Miami Country Day), Danny Mendoza (Ransom Everglades), and Stephen Linton (LaSalle). It also named an All-Region team (Southern States in the US) and Oropoza and Mendoza also made that team as well. Finally, Oropeza also was named to the United Soccer Coaches Association All-American team.