Mavericks Complete Four-Run Seventh Inning Comeback With Travieso Walk-Off
When two top teams in South Florida get together on a Friday night, the electricity in the park is usually high, and sometimes, the intense atmosphere can lead to a game of the ages. That was the case Friday night at Archbishop McCarthy, where the Mavericks played host to Florida Christian.
The teams traded blows throughout the night, but in the end, it was the two-time defending state champs that closed the game in a pile between first and second base. Nick Travieso capped a wild seventh inning by hitting a walk-off single, giving the Mavericks a come-from-behind 5-4 victory.
“Before the at-bat, my coach was telling me ‘he has to come after you with a fastball, with bases loaded, he can’t put you anywhere,'” said Travieso. “It feels great. I felt like I let my team down a little bit early in the game, and as a senior, I didn’t show leadership, but my last two at-bats, I felt great. I was seeing the ball better, letting the ball come to me, and it felt good picking up my team like that.”
Although Travieso had the game-winning hit, this Archbishop win was a complete team effort. Andre Martinez started the game for the Mavericks, and he threw the ball well, giving up only one unearned run in five innings of work. Despite the strong showing, Martinez was down 1-0 when he left the mound, and that was because Patriots starter Christian Palaez was matching Martinez pitch for pitch. Palaez went 5.1 innings, giving up one earned run.
The pitchers’ duel kept the bats for both teams quiet for most of the night. In the seventh, with the score tied 1-1, the two teams showed why they will both be contenders when playoff time arrives next month. The Patriots were the first to show their mental toughness in the top of the inning.
Julian Abreu led off the inning with a single, and after a hit-and-run fielder’s choice and a ground-out to third, it looked like this inning would be much like the other six, with little offense.
Zachary San Roman then hit an infield single, which was followed by an Aramis Herrera walk, loading the bases. Mavericks coach Rich Bielski then did what he has done many times before in this situation, he summoned sophomore Brian Gonzalez to get the final out.
What happened next was consecutive singles by pinch-hitter Tito Torres, second baseman Curtis Salcines, and Brandon Canizares, resulting in three Patriots runs. Torres was thrown out at home by center fielder Adam Duarte, a play that would prove to be as important as any other in the game.
With Archbishop down to its last three outs, it was up to Duarte to start what would eventually turn out to be a game-winning rally. Duarte, batting in the lead-off spot, hit a one-out single. Jason Morozowski followed with a high hop double over second baseman Salcines’ head, bringing to the plate the one batter on either team who had hit the ball well all night, Brandon Roberts.
Roberts, on cue, launched a booming triple to the right-center field gap, scoring Duarte and Morozowski and putting the tying run on third base with one out. For Roberts, it was his third hit of the night.
“We hit the ball hard all night. I just hit a couple of ground balls that got through,” said Roberts. “Some days, I’m going to hit the ball hard and not get the hits. Tonight it happened with other people. I stepped up tonight, and the next night, somebody else is going to step up.”
A walk to Gonzalez set the stage for Nick Basto, who hit what possibly could have been a game-ending double play, but the ball skirted up the middle, tying the game at four. A walk to Jonathan Quintana and the Travieso single gave Archbishop the type of win that has been known to kick-start title runs.
“I saw tonight in their eyes, that now they’re starting to believe in themselves,” said Bielski. “We kept telling them how good they could be as coaches, but they weren’t quite buying it yet. Now we’ve come back twice last week, we came back again tonight, and it’s not just one run, it’s three runs. Not every team has that comeback ability, and that is special, and that can take you far.”
As good a win as it was for the Mavericks, the Patriots have had to deal with losing close games all season long. They are talented enough to play with any team in the area, and head coach Ernie Padron knows that baseball works in mysterious ways sometimes.
“They caught some breaks with some hops, and we caught some breaks as well with bloopers that fell in,” said Padron. “Baseball gives and takes it away. It’s a game we all love, but man, it definitely takes a toll on you.”
The Patriots and Mavericks built their schedules as tough as possible to play playoff baseball all season long, and the schedule next week gets no easier for either team. Archbishop will face Pembroke Pines Charter on Thursday, with the winner claiming the top seed for the district tournament, before hosting St. Brendan on Friday night. Florida Christian has a match-up looming next week with Westminster Christian.