Sharks’ Strong Season Ends Early In Lakeland

After a 35 win regular season, the Miami Dade College baseball team came into the state tournament in Lakeland with high expectations but instead had their hopes extinguished after losing back-to-back games.

In the opening round the Sharks lost 11-8 versus Chipola College on May 11. The next day they lost 12-3 to Hillsborough Community College and were eliminated from the tournament.

The team finished the season with an overall 35-17 record including 18-10 in Southern Conference play.  

“We were hoping it would’ve gone better. But, both games were incredibly hard fought and it just wasn’t our tournament this time unfortunately,” said sophomore pitcher Garrett Bye. “We played well but we made some mistakes at crucial moments where we really needed big-time plays.”

Bye, who averaging 10.19 strikeouts per nine innings, appeared in 13 games this season, including seven starts. He will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall.

“A lot of coaching, a lot of teaching and a lot of learning. We showed flashes of being a very dangerous team but were not consistent enough to maximize our full potential,” said assistant coach Adrian Morales. “Obviously we wanted a better showing at the state tournament. All we can ask our players to do is play hard all the way through and they did that.”

Infielder Brian Rey was another one of the team’s leaders. He  had a .398 batting average and led the team in RBI (51) this season. Rey will be attending North Carolina State University next year.

The team also got strong pitching performances from Yusniel Padron-Artiles, who was 8-2, and Zachary Helsel, who was 7-2.

Despite those performances the Sharks lacked consistency all year.

“We won 10 in a row, we lost six in a row, we won 11 in a row, and then we got iffy,” Price said.

Some of the consistency issues can be attributed to an abundance of injuries. The team lost two key pitchers this year. Anthony Medina was forced to redshirt because of a herniated disk and Ernesto Pino suffered a torn labrum earlier this year that required surgery.

“We had guys playing in other positions they had never played before,” pitcher Nelson Alvarez said.

Despite the team’s disappointing ending, head baseball coach Danny Price said he was proud of his team’s effort.

“Some people really stepped up and embraced the next-man-up [mentality],” Price said.

Staff writer Justin Marcano contributed to this report.