Key West Bats Fly As They Take 4A-16 Title from Miami Sunset
The Key West Conchs (20-5) were an offensive juggernaut as they were able to tally 13 hits in four innnings of play against the Miami Sunset Knights to win the 4A-16 championship 13-0.
The Conchs game plan was to come out aggressive and swinging, because from the very beginning, the Conchs had their bats going. In the bottom of the first inning, the Conchs began going to work. Two lead-off walks led to having runners on second and third with one out and senior Anden Rady up to bat. Anden began the scoring parade with a double to left field to score two runs. Then later in the same inning, junior Anthony Lariz singles on a bunt to the pitcher to score Rady from third to make it a 3-o game.
The second inning resembled the first in that the Conchs stuck to the plan of coming out swinging. A walk and an error led to two men on. A sacrifice fly ball and a cluster of consecutive hits brought the team to a 6-0 lead going into the third. In the top of the third inning is when the Sunset Knights were able get a hit off of Conchs starter, junior right-handed pitcher and University of Florida commit, Felix Ong. Ong was extraordinary as he pitched a complete game shutout, striking out six and only gave up one hit.
“I mean it’s all about confidence. When I’m out in the mound, I feel like a superhero, it feels good, I love the feeling and I can’t get enough of it,” said Ong.
The bottom of the third saw a big swing come from the Conch line-up. Once again in the third inning the Conchs found themselves with runners on base who reached on walks, and that’s when Anden Rady decided to capitalize on that exact notion. The first strike Anden saw in his at bat, he took deep to left field for a three-run home run to bring the lead to 9. Rady would end up having the best day on the field, as he went 2-for-3 with a home run and six RBI’s. When asked about his performance, Rady said, “I was just feeling comfortable up there, seeing the ball out of the putchers hand, trying to drive the ball somewhere.”
The Conchs were able to put up another four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning which then enacted the mercy run rule, which meant the Knights would have only one more half inning to make something happen. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to make any progress as Conch pitcher Felix Ong was able to shut them down.
“We never gave them a chance to get going, so you want to keep that kind of rhythm and tempo going into the playoffs,” said Conchs manager Ralph Henriquez, who will be one of the Legends of Coaching Ceremony honorees at this year’s HSBN All-Star games.
Sunset manager Julio Mendoza didn’t get the win, however, to have made it to the district championship is a great feat especially due to the fact the Knights only won three games in the last three years, compared to this year where they won 14 games.
Sunset has achieved more than four times the amount of wins in one season than the past three years combined, and it’s all credit to the dedication and time put into the team and program from first year coach Julio Mendoza, who cares deeply about his players.
“I have the best group of kids a coach could possibly have,” said Mendoza.
So while Sunset may be runner ups, they still have something to celebrate and enjoy as they await a possible regional playoff appearance.