Archbishop Carroll Blanks Coconut Creek
For some Spring Break means vacation, but for the Coconut Creek Cougars and the Archbishop Carroll Bulldogs Spring Break means baseball.
For this cross-county showdown the Cougars made a visit to the Bulldogs. It was the first time these programs played each other, but for Managers Jorge Gutierrez and Pete Perez it was just another game against each other after having been in the same district in the past.
“I didn’t really know anything about them,” said Gutierrez. “I know Pete, their coach, he used to be the coach at Ransom Everglades. We played against them and they used to be in our district, and then he called me to schedule a game and he told me he was up there at Coconut Creek. I really didn’t know anything about the program.”
For Manager Perez this is his first season trying to rebuild the program at Coconut Creek as he is the first to address how much he has on his plate.
“We are very young, we only have one senior and one junior in the starting nine, the rest are all freshmen and sophomores,” said Perez. “Half of these guys have not played at this level yet and this is a way they are going to learn and I knew we were going to take our bumps but we are just going to get better. That’s why I wanted to play games like this out here. I want these kids to see something else and to have a good time and this is how they are going to learn.”
The difference in experience from both team was evident throughout the game.
The Bulldogs wasted no time and attacked from the opening frame with an early 1-0 lead. They added six more in the second and three runs in the fourth.
Chris Ortega led off the Bulldogs attack in the first with a double, before advancing and scoring on two wild pitches. That would be all the Bulldogs did in the first, but let it all out in the second.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard and put it in play, especially in the leadoff spot, trying to get the team going,” said Ortega.
Two leadoff walks later and Perez brought in his shortstop Winston Nunez to switch things up. A double from Anthony Gonzalez and a triple from William Roger ignited the Bulldogs surge to open a 7-0 lead. The inning finally came to an end after Nunez took matters into his own hands on a fly-ball in foul territory. With the third baseman back Nunez ran in and slid into the fence for the final out of the inning.
The Cougars had a quiet afternoon at the plate with the only hit coming in the first on an opposite-field single by catcher Jose Baez.
Gutierrez and his Bulldogs are done with their district games, but do not intend to fold and wait for the district tournaments to come along after a 3-1 3A-16 record. Gutierrez says his team’s plan until the end of the regular season is to just play hard and get ready for what really counts.
As for Perez, he is just getting started with his Cougars.
“There were guys here that couldn’t catch a fly ball,” said Perez. “Now usually fly-balls go in the air and they die in their mitts. They are starting to understand the game a little bit better and it is just a learning curve for me and my coaching staff. For a lot of the kids that have been here, even the sophomores that I have that were here last year, they can see the progression. I see it; they don’t realize it, but we do. We are going to be fine in the long haul; you can’t rebuild a program in five months.”
Up next for the Cougars is a 5A-16 district showdown against Cardinal Gibbons, while the Bulldogs face Mater Lakes in a non-district game.