Sunset Upsets Jensen Beach, Will Host Regional Semifinal
The moment is here for the Miami Sunset Knights.
Reaching the regional playoffs for the first time in a decade was not enough for the Knights, and on Tuesday evening they kept their special season rolling with a 5-4 road victory over the host Jensen Beach Falcons, in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal. It is Sunset’s first state playoff victory since the 2013 season, when the team reached the 8A regional final.
“We picked a good day to play a good game,” Sunset Manager Julio Mendoza said. “Jensen Beach has a heck of a team, and they’re well coached. Johan Hidalgo gave us five strong innings, and the boys swung it well behind him.”
Hidalgo scattered four hits and six walks, but kept the Falcons scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning. The senior right-hander struck out eight to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Nick Rodriguez doubled and scored in the top of the seventh to put Sunset in front, and the Knights added three unearned runs in the fifth to open up a 4-0 advantage. Andres Gonzalez then capped the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the seventh for the run that ultimately proved to be the difference, after the Falcons rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
“It feels like a gift from the baseball Gods. Our fans are super excited, as are the boys,” Mendoza said. “As for me, it hasn’t sunk in yet. It’ll probably hit me when we bring it up to the line for the National Anthem before the game. There’s been many late nights where I’ve sat in the bleachers with our coaches, and even some players, and we’ve talked and visualized this moment. The moment is now here.”
St. Brendan (11-8) advanced with a 4-3 road win of its own over the American Heritage-Delray Stallions, which was St Brendan’s first regional playoff victory since the 2015 season. It sets up a rematch from the District 4A-16 semifinals, which Sunset won 5-1.