Columbus Blanks Southwest To Repeat As District Champs
The Columbus Explorers defeated the Southwest Miami Eagles 12-0 to claim their second consecutive district title, which is also their fourth championship in five years.
The large score comes as a surprise, as the two split their regular season meetings, both games decided by a run each.
“Each time we’ve played them it’s been a dogfight,” Explorers manager Joe Weber said. “These two teams are evenly-matched, but our kids just did great tonight.”
Columbus got off to a hot start in the top of the first. Matthew Alfonso was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and two batters later Christopher Bohrer singled to advance Alfonso to third. Alfonso and Bohrer then scored on an RBI single by Albert Espinosa. Later in the inning, Espinosa scored himself on a sacrifice fly by Ariel Garcia.
“That inning gave us everything we needed from the start,” said Espinosa. “That led to us scoring runs the rest of the game.”
Southwest tried answering right back in the bottom of the first. Erick Mondelo doubled with one out to spark the Eagles dugout, but was later thrown out at third to end the threat.
The Eagles got another rally going in the bottom of the second, this time with runners on second and third with one out, after a bunt single and a double by Eddie Sierra. Bohrer, who started the game for Columbus, was able to strike out the next two hitters to escape from yet another jam.
Columbus scored in the top of the third on a bases-loaded walk to give them a four-run lead.
But Southwest again came threatening, this time with the bases loaded and two-out. Unfortunately, the story was the same here, as the Eagles came up empty yet again.
“We were one hit away,” said Eagles’ skipper Mandy Pelaez. “We didn’t capitalize with runners on base. We didn’t get the big hit.”
Columbus took advantage of the Eagles offensive struggles, and extended their lead in the fourth and again in the fifth to break it open. That was more than enough run support for Bohrer, who found his groove after a shaky start.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and make big pitches in big situations, and continue to pound the strike zone.” Bohrer said.
Columbus added a run in the sixth and four in the seventh to finish the scoring and seal the game.
“We’ve got to keep playing good baseball,” said Weber. “We’re playing pretty good baseball right now, and that’s what you want to be doing in May.”