In the 1992 film ‘A League of Their Own’ Tom Hanks playing Coach Jimmy Dugan emphatically tells Bitty Schram playing Right fielder Evelyn Gardner “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Miami Baseball’s weekend collapse in the Gainesville Regional, was not worth tears, but did bring a smile as I found in it memories of the great Roy Orbison’s work as a parallel of the Canes season. “It was alright for a while, I could smile for a while…” are the opening words of Roy O’s “Crying.” With music in mind my smile was widened as I recalled Dolly Patton’s sage advice “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!”
As a Sports Journalist, (I have yet to type that without lol as the kids say), I’m expected to write and report impartially. As a long time season ticket holder of the three sports I cover here I doubt I have met and don’t expect to meet that expectation soon.
Regional play in Gainesville opened at noon last Friday with #4 seed the USF Bulls facing the #1 Florida Gators. The Bulls upset the Gators 5-3.
UM - South Alabama Jaguars faced off next and in a tight pitchers duel the Canes prevailed 1- 0. Each team only had 4 hits Friday.
Miami broke through in the fifth when Dominic Pitelli led off with a single , CJ Kayfus was HBP, Anthony Villar laid down a perfect sac bunt moving runners to second and third, Yohandy Morales walked and Adrian Del Castillo hit a sac fly to center scoring Pitelli with the games only run.
Freshman RHP Alejandro Rosario went 6 1/3 (4H, 5K) for the win. Daniel Federman closed out the seventh and Carson Palmquist tossed the eighth and ninth, earning the save.
Saturday’s play in the double elimination format opened with Friday’s losers playing an elimination game. The Jags went off on the Gators 19-1, an assault that included 10 consecutive hits.
Florida was now eliminated.
UM advancement to Austin for the Super Regionals was now served up on a silver platter. With a Saturday win against USF all Miami would need to advance would be to win one of two from whoever came out of the loser’s bracket.
The emotionless Canes went down easily to the Bulls as they were routed 10-2. USF was now in the drivers seat but both UM and South Alabama were still alive.
The Jags and Canes faced off again early Sunday in an elimination matchup. Again lifeless, Miami was eliminated by South Florida 7-2.
The Jags and Bulls got started Sunday but the game was suspended by rain with South Florida ahead 4-0. Play resumed noon Monday without further scoring leading to a rematch for the regional championship later in the afternoon. Jags went up 1-0 in the first added another in the third before the Bulls tied it 2-2 in the fourth.
USF went ahead 3-2 in the sixth and extended lead to 4-2 in eighth before South Alabama closed to 4-3 in their half. Bulls added two insurance runs in top of ninth and Jags could only manage one in the bottom, as USF prevailed 6-4 earning a well deserved Regional Championship and a trip to Texas where they will face the Longhorns. Congratulations and good luck Bulls Nation, Miami Baseball has problems.
As I write this story I’m watching other teams in various regionals. Without exception these teams seem hungry, full of fire and emotion, vocal and aggressive, both at the plate and in the field.
Miami looked listless throughout the regional. UM was 1-20, .050 with runners in scoring position in the regional. They were 19-91 for a .209 BA.
Those numbers will never ‘get er done!’
The Canes top power hitters Alex Toral and Adrian Del Castillo have both regressed significantly over the past two years. Game after game there have been head shaking base running lapses that would not be acceptable on HS JV teams.
I’m puzzled how our storied program is so lacking in fundamentals and motivation.
There are bright spots. Freshmen infielders Yohandy Morales, Dominic Pitelli, CJ Kayfus, catcher Carlos Perez and young pitchers Alejandro Rosario Jake Smith, Jake Garland, Victor Mederos Alex McFarlane , Jordan Dubberly and Andrew Walters.
Returning vets Villar and Palmquist add everything we need on the field except outfielders that hit for power. Whether they be HS recruits , JC or D1 transfers we need an immediate infusion of run producing outfielders for a realistic run at Omaha.
I follow Canes Baseball daily on Twitter and Facebook. The most insistent complaints there consistently concern coaching and leadership. The athletic department must make a reevaluation of the program from the top on down.
With the baseball season over and basketball not starting until November I’ll be on hiatus for a while. The Major League draft takes place July 11-13 this year and I’ll report on how Miami Baseball will be impacted. As I become aware of recruiting, transfer or other info pertinent to Women’s BB, Men’s BB and Baseball I’ll make every effort to get new information to our readers. Be well all. Go Canes!