The final stretch of the regular season is approaching, and the Miami Dade College baseball team has its eyes on the Florida Collegiate System Activities Association Athletics State Tournament.
With six games remaining this year, the Sharks have a 23-15 overall record and are in first place in the Southern Conference with a 9-6 mark. The team has won six of its last seven games.
The recent string of wins has allowed the team to find their rhythm as they face the end of the regular season and make a run for the State Tournament.
“We’ve gotten better as a team,” head coach Danny Price said. “We are playing better as a unit and things should begin to get better for us. We are beginning to understand the ‘team’ concept more.”
The team’s recent winning streak has been aided by the Sharks solid defense and pitching this season.
Miami Dade College pitchers have averaged a 3.86 earned run average and they average 9.06 strikeouts per nine innings. In the state, the Sharks have allowed the least amount of home runs with seven.
Freshman pitcher Gabriel Figueroa-Hidalgo has been the team’s best pitcher with a 7-1 record, and a 2.08 ERA.
Offensively, the team had a below-average start, but after recovering from a spate of injuries suffered in February, the team is showing signs of improvement.
As a unit, the Sharks have a .261 batting average with 56 doubles, 12 home runs and a .351 slugging percentage.
After missing 26 games this season due to an injured right hand, sophomore outfielder Luis Guerrero returned to the lineup on April 5 against ASA College. He finished the two-game series with three hits in 10 plate appearances, one run batted in and two runs scored.
“I try to help my teammates as much as I can. I missed a lot of time, but I can make it up in this few weeks,” Guerrero said. “I just need to take it step by step and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
Despite all the injuries, the team reacted positively. Several players have stepped up and given significant contributions while filling in.
One of those players is freshman outfielder Jose Crisostomo-Bock. He leads the team in base hits with 42 and has 17 RBI and a .328 batting average. Infielder Raphy Almanzar-Rosario is also having a good year with 21 runs scored, 20 RBI and 30 base hits.
“It’s all about stamina because we have played more than half the season now and we must finish stronger than when we started,” said utility player Michael Alicea. “We have to keep running. We have to keep on the hard work, and continue to improve our offense so we go to the State Tournament”
The Sharks’ next game will be on the road versus Indian River State College on April 17 at 3 p.m.