The Miami Dade College baseball team faced some difficult challenges this past season. After winning 20 of their first 24 regular season games, they were sitting atop the Southern Conference looking to cruise into the Florida College System Activities Association State Tournament.
However, in the middle of the season, they faced an obstacle when they were forced to forfeit seven games due to two players—pitcher Alejandro Blanco and third baseman Ian Acevedo—who were ruled academically ineligible despite playing in those games.
Four of the seven forfeited games were against Southern Conference opponents, which resulted in the Sharks being knocked down to fourth place in the conference.
Despite the punch in the stomach, the Sharks bounced back. They went 16-7 in the games after the penalty was enacted, allowing the team to play in a qualifying game against the College of Central Florida, which they needed to win in order to secure a spot in the FCSAA State Tournament.
The Sharks lost the game 10-6, ultimately ending their season. They finished the season with a 27-20 record (16-12 in conference play), finishing third in the Southern Conference.
Among the team’s bright spots was the stellar play of freshman infielder Santiago Espinal.
Espinal, from the Dominican Republic, had 28 RBI, a .432 batting average, a .562 slugging percentage and a team-high 15 stolen bases for the Sharks this season.
He was named Southern Conference Player of the Year, to the Florida College System Athletic Association All-State First Team, and to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I All-Region team.
Several other Sharks received postseason honors. Sophomores Andrew George, Chris Bec and Nelson Mompierre were named to the Southern Conference First Team.
Freshmen Kevin Santiago, Danny Mondejar and Jackie Urbaez, and sophomore Kevin Williams received Southern Conference Second Team honors.
“No matter what we all say, there was so much plusses,” Sharks Head Baseball Coach Danny Price said.