S. Dade Shuts Out Coral Gables in Regional Quarterfinal
South Dade Buccaneers starter Jose Gorordo began the game by allowing a double to center field that was a few feet away from being a home run. But that was the last hit the Buccaneers gave up on Thursday night.
Gorordo and Kendrick Pico combined to pitch a one-hit shutout to defeat the Coral Gables Cavaliers 3-0 to move on to a regional semifinal Tuesday against Columbus.
“Pitching was outstanding tonight,” South Dade Manager Fred Burnside said. “Pico and Jose were lights out. When Jose settles down, he’s one of the best in town, probably one of the best in South Florida.”
Gorordo, who was the winning pitcher in the team’s state championship game last season, pitched four innings and recorded five strikeouts. Pico pitched three innings and provided relief in an inning where the Cavaliers (18-7) were threatening to get back into the game.
“The first hitter was the best hitter on the team,” Gorordo said. “So when I gave up the double, I wasn’t worried. In practice and bullpen, we worked on how to get the rest of the guys out, and it worked.”
Following the double in the first inning, Gorordo settled down by inducing a ground-ball out. Then his defense brought a quick finish to the inning when center fielder Sergio Lopez caught a line drive and darted it to second to complete the double play. Gorordo felt that was a critical moment in the game.
“That double play was big,” Gorordo said. “It was a momentum changer. It built a lot of confidence. I never get excited in the first inning, but I had to for that.”
During the bottom half of the inning, the Buccaneers (19-6) responded when Danny Vaughn hit an RBI triple to bring in Lopez, and Gabriel Cruz followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0. In the third inning, Alex Manoah added to the lead with an opposite-field home run over the right-field wall.
Meanwhile, Gorordo settled down and retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced until the top of the fifth inning, where he ran into trouble. He walked the first two batters and Burnside handed the ball to Pico, who responded by striking out the first two batters. However, he walked the next batter and found himself in a bases-loaded situation. Pico closed out the inning by forcing a fielder’s choice groundout to shortstop.
“I did not want to let them back into the game,” Pico said. “I wanted to kill the momentum. If they score one, they think they can come back. For a part of the season, I have been coming out of the bullpen having that attitude of, ‘Let’s go. Get the job done. Do whatever it takes’.”
Over the next two innings, Pico did not run into any more jams and struck out a total of six batters.
“Pico has great command of the curve, change, and fast,” Burnside said. “That’s what separates him. Lots of guys might have command of one, maybe two, but he throws a nasty change, gets the curveball over when he needs to, and has enough zip on his fastball. He’s going to be something special. He’s got another year.”
Coral Gables pitcher Andrew Cabezas had a solid pitching performance as he finished with six innings, five strikeouts, and three runs allowed. He was the Cavaliers’ lone pitcher used.
The Cavaliers’ season concludes at the same juncture as last season – the regional quarterfinal.
For the Buccaneers, Burnside would like to see his team’s bat come alive more. He noted the team had some timely hitting but the bats went silent after the third inning. Although the pitching combined for a one-hitter, he wants to see the team reduce the number of walks.
“Offensively, we need to do a better job,” Burnside said. “Columbus is an excellent ballclub year in and year out. So any time you go up against them, it’s going to be a good ballgame.”