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Baseball teams stay busy over the break

Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Gateway downed St. Cloud, 10-3, Tuesday at Chisholm Field. Photo/Martin Maddock

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor
Gateway’s only problem during its spring break baseball game at St. Cloud Tuesday was the wind – the gusts, blowing in, often topped 25 mph, enough to keep two or three well-hit balls in the park.
But, nobody in the Panthers dugout was complaining much about that after a 10-3 Orange Belt Conference victory at Chisholm Field.
Gateway (5-3) batted around in the fourth inning and scored seven runs to break open a 2-2 game.
Yomar Navarro might have had a grand slam on any other day, but instead his long fly ball bounced off the bottom of the fence for long single for the first RBI of the fourth inning for Gateway.
After his at-bat, the Panthers’ Juan Ramirez was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, Emile Perez knocked in a pair with a single, Jose Montoya hit a sacrifice fly, Carlos Soto doubled home a run and, finally, Kenny Badillo had an RBI single, making it 9-2.
“We swung the bats pretty well today,” Panthers Coach Jim Moran said. “It was a good game for us. The important thing right now is to build some consistency. That’s the thing we’re looking for.”
Brian Carruyo picked up the win, yielding just one earned run through five innings.
Moran said that as long as the team improves, he isn’t concerned much about wins and losses.
“I know that we jell at the right time,” he said. “What happens now doesn’t mean a hill of beans to me. Talk to me a month from now and I’ll know some things.”
The Panthers, who have games with Celebration, Oak Ridge and Harmony next week, seem well-stocked to make another deep run through the playoffs as they did last year when they reached the regional finals.
“I’ve got probably the best catcher in the state (senior Luis Cabrera, who has a scholarship to Maryland Eastern Shore), and in the infield I go senior (Soto), senior (Montoyo), senior (Mark Perez) and junior (Alex Ortiz),” he said. “We’ve got a chance.”
The Panthers were equally impressive Wednesday, blowing out Freedom, 12-2, as Victor Gotay struck out six in five inning to earn the win. Navarro had three hits and drove in four runs.
St. Cloud Coach Bo O’Dell saw his team slip to 4-2 Tuesday.
Actually, he saw a part of his team in action, since half of  his starters were absent due to injuries or vacation plans.
“That’s why I  hate playing over spring break,” he said. “When we get everyone back, we’re going to be able to win some games.”
But, not the way the Bulldogs were swinging on Tuesday against Gateway.
“We’ve got to hit the ball,” O’Dell, in his first season with the Bulldogs, said.
The Bulldogs’ shortstop, Alex Hernandez, had the team’s only clutch hit Tuesday, a two-out single that drove in the Bulldogs’ first two runs. St. Cloud’s other run came on an RBI groundout by Cisco Frias.
Both Gateway (9A-5) and St. Cloud (8A-10) are in four-team districts. That means that one victory at the district tournament is all that is required to reach the regional playoffs.
St. Cloud and district rival Liberty split two games last week. St. Cloud also owns a win against district foe East River.
“I know who we are going to have at the top two or three spots in the batting order,” O’Dell said. “Right now, we’re working on who we’re going to have at No. 5 and No. 6, that part of the order. We have time to put it together.”
The Bulldogs next play Cypress Creek on Thursday.
Osceola (4-4) was as cold as the spring break weather has been early this week with losses against Treasure Coast (5-3) Monday and Palm Harbor University (4-1) Tuesday.
But, before that, the Kowboys won the one that counts, 4-0, over Ridge Community on March 10 in 9A District 5. Osceola is 2-0 in the district. It goes to East Ridge Tuesday.
Celebration boosted its record to 6-2 Tuesday with a 5-2 win over Bradenton IMG Academy. Mo Hernandez earned the win. Adams Torres homered.
The Storm visit Poinciana Monday at 6 p.m. and host Lake Nona Wednesday.