North Miami Tops Dillard For Fourth Straight Win
The North Miami Pioneers took advantage of Dillard’s miscues at the top of the sixth to score four en route to a 6-1 win Wednesday.
The Pioneers (5-3) extended their winning streak to four games.
North Miami’s pitcher Victor Sam was a key factor as he pitched a complete game, allowing only one run on one hit, striking out 12 and walking four.
Sam helped his own cause by getting on base four times, two on base hits, one on a passed ball on a third strike and once on an infield error. He also stole a base.
“I just came out here to compete,” Sam said. “I want to continue working hard. We need to continue working as a team and we’ll get better.”
North Miami Manager Ken Litman was pleased with Sam’s performance.
“We think [Sam] has a good future. He’s only a 10th-grader,” Litman said. “We’re working on his fastball and change-up. Hopefully next year we’ll help him develop his breaking ball.”
Another key player for the Pioneers was their first baseman, Daury Ceballos, who had two key at-bats. At the top of fifth inning with two outs he blasted a rocket line drive to the right field fence for a double that scored the go-ahead run for the Pioneers.
His other opportunity to help his team came in the sixth inning. Again with two outs, Ceballos made contact and hit a slow grounder to short, and he reached first safely on an errant throw which allowed the winning run to score for the Pioneers.
Ceballos finished the night going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
“It was a good game. We have to continue to play like this every game,” Ceballos said. ” Coach Litman is a good coach. He’s a great person. He tries to do the best for us every day. He really teaches us how to play the game.”
Dillard pitcher Cleveland Westbrook did not allow a run or a hit until the top of the third inning, when the Pioneers scored a run on two hits. Westbrook allowed only two more hits in the rest of his appearance on the mound.
But in the sixth inning, the game began to unravel for the Panthers with a series of errors, passed balls, wild pitches and walks, which the Pioneers took advantage off with great heads-up base running to score four runs and put the game out of reach for Dillard.
Westbrook left the game in the top of the sixth when he fell to the mound clutching his throwing arm in pain. He was immediately tended to by trainers as players from both teams took a knee and waited the tense moments as their fellow player was treated.
After a few minutes, Westbrook was assisted up as the crowd cheered and was taken out of the game.
“Cleveland was taken to the hospital. We’re hoping it’s nothing major,” Dillard Manager Daniel Lozinsky said. “He’s a great kid. He didn’t get the support he needed defensively tonight. I hope he’s OK.”
The Panthers opened the door for the Pioneers with a few mental miscues both defensively and on the offensive end.
“We made mental mistakes. We got doubled up on line drives,” Lozinsky said. “This is a thinking game. We have to continue to work on the fundamentals. Hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes. They’ll have a few days to think about it.”
Coach Litman was pleased with the performances on the mound Wednesday.
“It was great to see two pitchers throwing like that,” Litman said. “We took advantage of a few of [Dillard’s] mistakes. We’re on a bit of a winning streak. The kids are on a roll, and I think we’re going in the right direction.”