4A-16 Playoff Preview: Key West Hoping To Repeat
Key West came out on top of 4A-16 a year ago in walk-off fashion over the St. Brendan Sabres.
The Conchs are looking to repeat on the district championship with less drama in 2023, but the Sabres and the rest of the division aren’t keen on going down with out a fight.
Let’s take a look at each team’s prospects.
4A-16 District Playoff Schedule
Location: St. Brendan
Quarterfinals – Monday (5/1)
No. 4 Killian vs. No. 5 South Miami @ 3:00 p.m.
Semifinals – Tuesday (5/2)
No. 1 Key West vs. Winner (Killian-South Miami) @ 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 St. Brendan vs. No. 3 Sunset @ 4:30 p.m.
Finals – Thursday (5/4)
Winner (Miami Springs-Hialeah-Miami Lakes) vs. Winner (St. Brendan-Sunset) @ 7:00 p.m.
Key West – Team Page
The Conchs have been one of the best teams in the region all year long and figure to be the team to beat in 4A-16 once again.
The tandem of Andris Barroso (36 IP, 1.36 ERA, 45 K) and Felix Ong (31.1 IP, 42 K) has gotten them through most starts. Jake Haggard is having a strong season at the plate with 25 hits and a .424 batting average through 59 at-bats. Anden Rady is another elite bat for the team who has produced the lone home run for the Conchs this season.
Key West is 16-3 at home and 1-2 on the road this season, but that’s mostly because the Conchs only travel to the mainland to face the very best (i.e. Douglas, Columbus, etc.). This team is battle-tested and should be able to make a deep run in the regional tournament, but first comes a district title push.
Killian – Team Page
The Cougars are the No. 4 seed in the district and are coming into the quarterfinals confident after already notching a regular season win over its opponent, south Miami.
Zachary Fernandez is the team ace with a 0.30 ERA and 32 strikeouts through 23.2 innings recorded. Kendry Blanco has been the best hitter on the team with a .462 batting average and 19 hits through 41 at-bats.
A one-run loss to Key West earlier in the year as Killian thinking it can make a deep run in this district tournament, but it would likely take a district title to advance to regionals.
Miami Sunset – Team Page
The Knights set a goal of five wins at the beginning of the season after only winning a handful of games over the past few years. A 9-2 start to the season shattered expectations, and Miami Sunset competed with some of the very best teams in the county this season.
Angel Santiago’s 33 hits have been a massive reason for this team success. He’s hit six home runs and has 17 RBIs, which is second only to Daniel Reyes’ 18 runs batted in. Reyes also has four homers on the year, and Andres Gonzalez is right behind him with three. Good plate discipline helps this team get into scoring opportunities. The Knights have walked (94) almost as often as they have struck out (110) this season. Finally, Johna Hidalgo’s arm has been nothing short of stellar all year long. His ERA sits at 0.33 after 21.1 innings. Angel Santiago’s 19 steals also deserve a note.
Miami Sunset is perfectly capable of pulling off an upset in the semifinal round of the district tournament. Regardless of what happens, it would be hard to look at the season as anything but a success after winning 13 games.
South Miami – Team Page
The Cobras have a record above .500, but that’s only good enough for the No. 5 seed in a deep five-team district. Sal Camaraza has led South Miami to a 7-1 home record in his first year at the helm, and things look like they are headed in the right direction.
Franco Sosa is the workhorse for South Miami on the mound. His 40.2 innings is almost double of the next most popular arm on the team, and his 0.86 ERA is impressive over such a large sample size. Albar Bruno’s 1.09 ERa through 25.2 frames isn’t too shabby either. Offensively, Andrew Alvarez leads the team with 22 hits and 16 RBIs. Roberto Elias Morales is likely to cross the 20-hit threshold in the playoffs as well.
Avenging a 7-3 regular season loss to Killian in the quarterfinals would be a massive feather in the cap of Camaraza as a first-year head coach. Let’s see what the Cobras can do!
St. Brendan – Team Page
The Sabres are the No. 2 seed in 4A-16 and are looking to avenge a 7-6 loss in the district final to Key West a year ago.
Junior Luis Suarez has put together a 30-hit season and has hit a team-high three home runs. Suarez’s 20 runs batted in are second only to Jean Carlos Garcia-Chicano’s 22 RBIs. Lucas Fernandez has led the team on the mound all year with a 2.66 ERA through 44.2 innings.
After falling short of a district championship against Key West by one run last year, St. Brendan is primed to get its revenge at home. Both clubs are likely to make the regional tournament either way, but bragging rights for the year are on the line. Getting past Sunset in the semis won’t be easy, though.