Miami Springs Walks Off Goleman For 6A-16 Win
The rivalry between the Goleman Gators and Miami Springs Golden Hawks was renewed on Tuesday afternoon, and the two teams did not disappoint. Showing that the 6A-16 race will again be a battle throughout the year, the Golden Hawks needed all seven innings to capture their first district win, 6-5, under new Manager David Fanshawe.
“Obviously this was a game we wanted to win,” said Fanshawe. “Goleman has won the district title the past few years, and we want to bring it back over here. It is a long season, and we are just getting started, but this was a good way to begin our district play.”
A good way is an understatement. The two teams exchanged punch and counter-punch, both showing that they could battle through adversity. In the end, it was an Orlando Borroto sacrifice fly that drove in Michael Amat with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
Goleman took the lead in the first when they jumped on Springs starting pitcher Javier Prevost. Juan Lugo and German Villar ledd of the game with consecutive hits, and after a Juan Rodriguez sacrifice fly, an error, and a balk, the Gators had a 2-0 lead.
The Golden Hawks responded immediately in their half of the frame. Amat reached on an error, and Joel Gonzalez and Tommy Diaz had back-to-back singles. Kevin Garcia walked, and Borroto singled, followed by a Steven Torres double. Suddenly a 2-0 deficit had turned into a 3-2 lead.
“We jumped on them with two runs in the first, and they did a good job of coming back and getting three runs and swinging the momentum,” said Goleman Manager Jose Lopez. “In the end, they made a few more plays than we did today. I liked that our guys fought back, but today they were just a little better than us.”
The Golden Hawks added to their lead in the fourth on a solo shot by Torres. In the fifth Amat, who was on base three times, singled, had a heads-up tag from first base on a flyout down the right field line, and then scoredon an infield error, stretching the lead to 5-2.
As for Torres’ home run, the at-bat came with a plan.
“I crowded the plate all game,” said Torres. “I knew he was going to pitch me outside because I was on top of the plate. He gave me a pitch in, and I was able to turn on it.”
After the first inning, Prevost settled in, and completed four innings, allowing only the two runs in the first.
The Gators began their comeback in the sixth when they scored one run off Hawks reliever, and eventual winning pitcher, Frank Lopez.
The seventh inning is where the fireworks began. Goleman Villar led off with a double, but the momentum shifted quickly when he was caught going to third on a fielder’s choice ground ball back to the mound. With their prospects looking dim, Rodriguez stepped to the plate and, after two strikes, drove a two-run, game-tying home run to right field, sending the Gators faithful and dugout into hysterics.
Despite giving up the lead, Springs was able to regroup. With Amad leading off the seventh with a walk, and quickly stealing second base, the Hawks were back in business. After an intentional walk, a strikeout, a wild pitch, and another intentional walk, Borroto came up and delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly.
“Coach told me if I got on we were going to win the game,” said Amat. “It has been great having him here, as the coaching staff has brought an attitude of winning with them from Brito. This was a big district game, but we know that it is only one game, and it means nothing if we don’t come back out and play well on Thursday.”
His manager echoed that sentiment.
“Today was a good win, but all district games are big,” said Fanshawe. “Thursday is another district game, and it is just as important as this one. So we have to quickly turn the page and be ready for Thursday.”
As for the Gators, Lopez is dealing with a team that graduated a bunch of seniors from last year.
“We have possibly the toughest schedule in Miami-Dade this year,” said Lopez. “And I did that on purpose. These guys have to grow up and learn fast, and playing top competition is how to do that. We did some good things today, and showed a comeback spirit. That is what I want to see from these guys. When they fall behind, they have the ability to come back. So that was good to see.”
Miami Springs will host Norland Thursday, while Goleman travels to play a non-district game against Killian.