An 11-run ninth inning powered the ’Canes past their rivals to the south in the Marathon Dolphins, 15-6, on April 20. A seven-run fourth inning propelled the Hurricanes to victory at Riviera Prep, 10-9, on April 22. The ’Canes returned home for senior night on April 26 against South Dade where they lost 3-1.
A season that started 1-6 has since seen the ’Canes turning solid pitching, sound defense and strong play among seniors into a 9-10 record going into their final game of the season at Homestead on April 27. With healthy pitchers and players in a groove, the team could make a run in the upcoming district tournament.
And it could mean a matchup against a Keys Gate team that the ’Canes haven’t beaten dating back to last season.
“I feel like the team has finally started to do the things that the coaching staff, especially coach Doug Mientkiewicz, has been preaching to these guys to catch the ball, play sound defense, run the bases well and swing at good pitches,” said coach Joe Molinaro. “Pitchers are throwing strikes and batters are getting good, timely hits. That translates into better results from last season.”
Molinaro not only credits the players in the turnaround, but also the coaching staff composed of Mientkiewicz, Andy Putetti and Pamela Molinaro in getting the team ready each game.
Production among the ’Canes five seniors, as well as underclassmen, is among the keys to the turnaround seen this season. They include pitcher and offensive power in David Jensen, who formerly played for South Dade before coming to Coral Shores, and third baseman Kevin Mendoza. Senior Jacob Senecal is consistent on the mound and swinging the bat better this season.
In addition to pitching, Javier Gonzalez plays various infield positions and bats in the middle of the lineup. Tyler Rodriguez has played in several positions and pitching when the team needs his arm.
“When we used Tyler we were down 8-3 against Riviera,” Molinaro said. “Jensen got a grand slam to tie it in the seventh. We then had Tyler on third and Javier on first. Doug put on a delayed steal, and the catcher threw to second. That allowed Tyler to score.
“Tyler came in the last two innings and threw fastballs and just blew them away,” he continued. “That was the key.”
Junior first baseman Ian Anderson, junior pitcher and shortstop Dylan Bloom and sophomore catcher Steel Mientkiewicz have also played strong this year, Molinaro said.