Varela Defeats Southwest To Advance To District Final
The Felix Varela Vipers (15-3-2) took on and defeated the Southwest Miami Eagles (16-8) in the 6A District 16 semi final game to advance to the district championship game against the Doral Academy Firebirds.
The Vipers were adamant on making sure that they lived to play another day. A tight game for most of the duration, both the Vipers and the Eagles starting pitchers were giving it their all, but it was Varela starting pitcher, junior Edgar Colon, that stood out.
Colon was lights-out, as he threw a complete six innings, striking out five and only giving up two hits. Two runs did score, but they were unearned as the runners reached base on errors. We asked Edgar about his start, how he felt and whether or not the pressure of the start got to him at all before or during the game.
“Honestly I was pretty comfortable once I was up there. I came to do a job and I did it… [admittedly] before the game I was pretty nervous, I was shaking a bit.”
After Edgar Colon finished the sixth inning with 105 pitches, the Vipers coaching staff turned to senior right-handed pitcher Isaiah Espinosa to close things out. He was perfect and did exactly what was asked of him, as he pitched an effiecient 1-2-3 closing inning. A situation that requires resolve was the exact one Espinosa was thrown into, and he stepped-up big time. “It was a little nerve racking, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t been through before.”
The Vipers offense was ignited and supported by senior catcher Christian Perez, who had an absolute clutch and powerful day at the plate as he went 2-for-2 with a one run homerun, a single, a walk and two RBI’s. The homerun came in the bottom of the fourth inning to put his Vipers team up one run, bringing the score to 3-2. His single later in the game provided a much-needed insurance run.
“Naturally, when I hit the ball, I hustle out of the box, but once I took a couple of steps out of the box, I knew it was out,” said Perez. “In the at-bat prior, I was seeing pitches well, I knew what was coming, so I just waited for a pitch in my zone I could hit.”
Southwest had sophomore right-handed ace Jesus Moreno on the hill. He went a solid 4.1 innings, giving up only two hits. He gave up seven walks which didn’t help the Eagles, as Varela was able to capitalize, but there were glimpses where Moreno had shown true resilience and athleticism.
Eagles manager Mandy Palaez shared his thoughts on the game.
“It was a well-pitched game, got to give their guys credit. He’s a good pitcher. We didn’t capitalize early in the game with runners on, and with good pitching like that against a good team, you really have to take advantage.”
He also made sure to give props to Moreno, who while not having his greatest outing, pitched an incredible season of baseball for the Eagles.
“He’s been our work horse, from last year when he was a freshman, he’s shown he can handle big games. He’s been a work horse all year, and he got us to this point, so there’s nothing to hang our heads about.”
Felix Varela will take on the Doral Academy Firebirds for the 6A District 16 Championship. Vipers manager Lazer Collazo is looking forward to the match-up. When asked what he’d like to carry on to the championship. “The enthusiasm and want. I hope we take the same enthusiasm and want into Thursday game, we’ll be ok.”