Miami-Dade High School Baseball
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Brito Comes Back To Survive Archbishop Carroll

Leandro Espinosa through five frames and did not allow an earned run.

Brito’s Manager Pedro Guerra must have an amazing set of lungs. The veteran of a couple of decades is never afraid to speak his mind. His voice, a mixture of Spanish and “poquito” of English gets around the field from the first inning until the last ball is thrown. For the passionate fans, listening closely is a must. In between a couple of barbs for the umpires and the tough reprimands for his ballplayers, there is an immense amount of baseball knowledge.

On Monday afternoon, Guerra could not stay in one place. His team faced Archbishop Carroll, in a ballgame that was as close as it could be. The Panthers came back from a deficit to beat the Bulldogs 4-2.

Guerra was not happy with the way his team played offensively. He seemed to expect much more out of a talented batting order that looks on paper capable of destroying most pitching staffs.

“The team is not producing as I think they can produce. This is the same core of last year when we had an outstanding offense. We are getting into our own little by little.” Guerra said. “The good thing about this group is that we can come back and turn a game around in a matter of seconds.”

Brito (8-3) eventually saw that lineup turn the game around. It was the Panthers that scored first to open things up against the crafty Bulldog starter Daniel Salgueiro, who pitched the complete game while striking out six and giving up two earned runs. He mixed his slow-curveball with a fastball that had lots of movement. In the fourth inning after two outs, Marco Bolano hit a deep single to centerfield. Onelio Perdomo got on base to keep the inning alive with a hit-by-pitch. With Bolano now in scoring position, shortstop Julio Gonzales hit a line drive to left field to score the first run of the ballgame.

The Panther starter, Leandro Espinosa, was in a duel with Salgueiro through the whole game. Espinosa, who didn’t surrendered any runs and struck out five in five innings, was the victim of a couple of errors in the fifth inning that scored the two runs to put Archbishop Carroll (6-6) on top.

Daniel Salgueiro dueled Espinosa, throwing a complete game.

Espinosa seemed unconcerned about the fact that he had lost the lead. He just kept doing his job and killed the inning.

“It all comes down from the preparation,” Espinosa explained. “Sometimes your team defense may let you down, but you have to trust them and keep it coming until you go on top.”

Being a senior, the captain, third in the batting order and the leader of the team, is a lot of responsibility for anyone. Savian Fernandez enjoyed the pressure that his manager Guerra put on him. Fernandez appeared unsatisfied after the two unearned runs scored in the fifth inning. Once he come back to the dugout, he fired with enthusiasm for his team, got on the batting cage looking prepared to do his work, and his work he did.

“It’s tough to come back after an error, but it felt good to come back to hit a single to start things up, and score the first run of that inning,” Fernandez said.

The Panthers captain was followed by a single by Mauricio Amaral. The inning and the hopes for a comeback were put on hold when the second out came. What followed made things interesting. The first baseman Perdomo, who had been beamed before in the game, was hit again by a pitch to load the bases. Next to bat was Gonzales. The senior kept his composure and drove a couple of runs on an infield-hit combined with an error by the defense.

“It’s simple, you make that play and the game it’s 2-1,” Archbishop Carroll Manager Jorge Gutierrez said. “Obviously, our pitcher threw a great game; even on the pitch of the error. You can’t ask for anything else; we just had to make the play.”

On the other side, Guerra, who always looks uncomfortable inside the dugout, started moving the chains. After loads of shouting to encourage his team, just like a magician takes out a rabbit, Guerra put Christian Alvarez into the game as a pinch-hitter, who drove the last run of the game with a hit to right field.

Marcos Bolano was a dominant force as a reliever.

The next frame, Guerra decided that Espinosa had done his job. He put his ace into the game. Bolanos warmed up, and he struck out four of the next six batters.

“Bolano is a really useful player. I can always count on him,” Guerra said. “When I feel like the game is close and we can’t afford to lose it, I can blindly go to him.“

Gutierrez felt good about the way the Bulldogs fought for the game. His team played great baseball and deserved the praise of the Manager.

“We didn’t play bad, but you can always play better,” Gutierrez said. “We controlled the game, but it’s what it is. After an error on such a big play like that anything can happen. So it wasn’t bad playing.”

The Bulldogs had won their last two contests coming into the game, including a big win over Sunset. The team has been playing better down the stretch, as their last three losses came by a combined total of only seven runs. Now Gutierrez is just looking for them to smooth out the kinks in time for the playoffs.

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