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South Miami Opens Season With HSBN Game Of The Week Win

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The regular season opener brings with it a special place in the hearts of high school baseball players, coaches, and fans. Throw in the fact that the opener is an HSBN Miami Game of the Week, and the pressure mounts even more.

South Miami and Dr. Krop had the task of beginning their season under those circumstances Tuesday afternoon. The Cobras handled the pressure with little trouble, receiving a strong pitching performance by sophomore Kevin Serrano en route to an 8-3 win in the opener.

“It’s the first game of the year, and obviously everybody wants to win their first game,” said South Miami Manager Howard Cuervo. “Kevin is a guy that pitches with a lot of emotion, and he has good stuff, which is why he was out there today on opening day.”

Serrano threw five innings, allowing only two runs. He navigated through the Lightning lineup with relative ease, allowing only two hits apiece to Melvin Hatcher and Peter Pacheco, the Lightning’s eighth and ninth hole hitters.

“I just wanted to come out and throw all my pitches for strikes, and control the game,” said Serrano. “We knew it was a big game with it being a Game of the Week and also being our first game of the year, and we just wanted to come in and win.”

South Miami gave Serrano an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first off Krop starter Jose Zamora. The right-hander should have met a better fate, but two errors helped the Cobras prolong the inning and score the two runs.

“That inning Jose should have thrown about eight pitches,” said Lightning Manager Paul Barrios. “But instead, he threw 30 pitches, and that changes the entire game from there.”

Even with the 30 pitches thrown, Zamora settled down and kept Krop in the game. After the lightning cut the lead to 2-1 in the third, the score remained that way into the fifth, when the Cobras were finally able to break the game open.

After a fly out, Jorge Gutierrez singled, followed by a Ken Diaz double. Aaron Cox then stepped to the plate and laced a two-run triple down the right-field line. Suddenly the Cobras had built a 4-1 lead.

“I was just looking for something to get us going, a ball to hit hard and get the runner from third home,” said Cox. “I was able to get a good pitch, and we ended up scoring both runs.”

South Miami would go on to score five times in the inning, and then would hold on for the 8-3 win.

“It was a good game for us,” said Cuervo. “But it is still only the first game of the year. Half the teams are going to win, and half the teams will lose their first game. For us, I tell the guys all the time, we are just building each day, because it is the team that is hot at the end that will make a playoff run.”

A playoff run is what the Cobras players believe is in their destiny in 2018.

“We want to keep getting better each day, and today, we were playing tight to start,” said Cox. “Once we got into the flow of the game, we were able to loosen up and play our game, and then we started to play much better.”

For the Lightning, the loss provides Barrios with what he believes will be a teaching moment.

“That was a good lesson early in the season,” said Barrios. “These guys think they can just show up and win. So a game like today hopefully humbled them and let them know they have to come focused every day or games like this can happen.”

The game was the first of what is setting up to be an exciting slate of match-ups for the Miami Game of the Week schedule in 2018.

“it’s always fun to win a Game of the Week,” said Cuervo.

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