Some day, many decades from now, Jason Torres might sit down with his grandchildren on his lap and tell them about the day grandpa hit the most dramatic home run in the history of his high school baseball program.
But for the time being, Torres was just happy to be mobbed by his teammates and get doused multiple times with water coolers late Saturday morning.
That’s because, seconds earlier, with the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, he turned on a Ryan Cabarcas fastball sending it over the center field fence and sent his Miami Springs baseball program somewhere it’s never been in the 55 year history of the program – the regional finals.
The Golden Hawks, questioned all season long about their strength of schedule and whether their gaudy national ranking in Baseball America was legit, legitimized everything by shocking Plantation American Heritage 4-3 in a Region 4-6A semifinal at Springs High School’s Shelly Dunkel Field.
Springs (26-1) is on the right side of the bracket as well and will host either Eau Gallie or Rockledge in a regional final on Wednesday with the winner earning a trip to CenturyLink Field in Fort Myers and a berth in the state final four.
“I had been getting good looks on fast balls all game and was looking for something I could drive and I caught it,” said a soaking wet Torres, just a freshman who now has five home runs this season. “What a moment for this team, what a moment for this program. Everybody has been doubting us all season saying we weren’t as good a our record said it was but I guess today we proved the doubters wrong because that was one great team on the other side of the field today that we beat.”
Heritage, sporting a stacked roster of Division I commits and Major League prospects, took an early lead on a solo home run by Matt Ruiz in the first. Patriots starter Devin Futrell then protected that lead until the bottom of the fourth.
That’s when Springs rallied for a pair of runs. Futrell gave up a base hit to Torres and then walked four batters. Nick Anello replaced him and pitched to just one batter, recording the final out of the inning before Cabarcas entered in the fifth.
Springs starter Erick Argote Jr. settled down after giving up the early homer to Ruiz but made another mistake in the fifth against the same batter and Ruiz made him pay by blasting it over the left field fence again tying the game at two.
Springs re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning when Torres stepped up with a runner on third and one out and drilled a base hit to left.
Heritage (20-6) managed to tie it again with a run in the sixth when Gio Ferraro scored from second base on a two-out throwing error to first by third baseman Bruce Yanez.
“I’m not sure what to even say right now,” said Springs head coach David Fanshawe, normally a cool customer who was trying not to hyperventilate. “This is just an unbelievable moment for this program and I’m so proud of these kids, especially Jason. The kid is a freshman who plays like a senior. For him to step up in that moment and do what he did is incredible.”