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From Coin Flip to District Champs

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Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 12:00 am

South Dade Advances with First Round Win in Regionals

Sometimes its better to be lucky, than good. The South Dade High School baseball team managed to be both. The Buccaneers finished the regular season in a fourth place tie with Coral Reef High School, which meant the final spot in the playoffs would come down to a coin flip. South Dade Athletic Director, Mike Pollizano made the right call and won that coin toss, which ultimately secured the #4 seed for the Buccaneers in the district tournament. With South Dade High School hosting the tournament this year, winning the coin flip was a bit more important than it would normally be.

South Dade (11-11) opened the tournament on Tuesday night against the #1 Seed, Killian Cougars (17-6-1). South Dade ace pitcher, Yamil Chavarria pitched for the Bucs and dueled with Killian ace, Ryan Floyd through six scoreless innings. In the top of the seventh inning Buccaneer pinch hitter, David Garcia led off with a single. After two groundouts moved pinch runner Lenox Verdecia to third base, Killian relief pitcher, George Aguilera uncorked a wild pitch that scored Verdecia to give South Dade a 1-0 lead. Chavarria took the mound in the bottom of the seventh to try and close the deal, but after only two pitches the rains came and the game was suspended until Wednesday afternoon. Freshman, Luis Urquiaga relieved Chavarria and was facing the top of the potent Killian line-up. After a leadoff walk to Freddy Zamora, Urquiaga got Rivera, a University of Miami commit, to flyout . Another walk put the winning run on base, but Urquiaga settled down and was able to get Chris Garcia and Adrian Parra to flyout to end the Killian rally. The Bucs were moving on to the District Championship game.

The Buccaneers now had to face the #2 Seed Palmetto Panthers (19-5). The Panthers defeated the Southridge Spartans 9-2 to earn their way into the finals. South Dade opened the scoring in the second inning with an RBI single by Jonathan Brutti and a sacrifice fly by Jose Zepeda to take a 2-0 lead. South Dade added an insurance run in the seventh inning on an error by Palmetto and defeated the Panthers 3-0. Sophomore pitcher, J.P. Kenyon threw a complete game shutout, scattering six hits, walking only one and striking out three. He only needed 73 pitches on the night to lead his Buccaneers to their third straight District 16-9A Title.

Coach Rene Ruiz said about the win, “These kids poured everything they had into both the Killian game and the Palmetto game. We beat two outstanding ball clubs this week.”

he South Dade Buccaneers swept through the District tournament without allowing a single run. That streak came to a sudden end in the Regional Quarterfinals when two first inning errors by the Bucs gave the Braddock Bulldogs an early 2-0 lead. South Dade bounced back immediately, tying the game up in the first when Braddock starter Alejandro Perez balked to allow Willy Escala to score for the first run and Yamil Chavarria singled home Jose Zepeda to even the game at 2-2.

Hasani Clarit lead off the fourth inning with a single, stole second, stole third and scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-3 South Dade. After a walk by Jorge Torres, Escala greeted relief pitcher Gabriel Core with a triple off the wall in deep center field to score Torres and give the Bucs a 5-3 win.

In the win, Chavarria pitched six solid innings allowing only one earned run, four hits and striking out four. Freshman, Luis Urquiaga pitched the seventh inning striking out two Bulldogs to earn his second save of the postseason. Escala ended the night 2 for 2 with 2 RBI, while Clarit went 2 for 2 with 3 stolen bases.

The Buccaneers (14 -11) advance to host the Region 4 Semi-Finals on Tuesday, May 16th, 7:00 PM against the Palmetto Panthers (20-6). Palmetto defeated the nationally ranked Columbus Explorers 4-1 to earn their way into the regional semi-finals. This game will be a rematch of the District 16-9A Championship game.

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