Taravella Storms To Regional Victory Over Cooper City
The Taravella Trojans took to a hostile Cooper City environment and, aided by solid work from reliever Blake Bowman and a collective 4-for-9, five walk night for the bottom third of their lineup, emerged 6-2 victors over the Cowboys.
Taravella earns a rematch with district rival Douglas in the regional semifinals.
“We knew coming in that it was going to be a loud environment and that if we started to play to their strengths that it would be tough,” Taravella Manager Alan Clark said. “We didn’t get too caught up in the talk or the emotions and we didn’t let the game get too big for us. It was a big win.”
After starter Zack Pernick exited early, it was up to Blake Bowman, the Trojans first guy out of the pen, to stitch the rest of the game up. After getting out of a bases-loaded jam and limiting the damage done by the Cowboys against Pernick to just a single run in the third inning, Bowman battled through his biggest adversity of the night in the fifth inning. The Cowboys loaded the bases on an error and two hit-by-pitches, but Bowman made his biggest pitch of the night, inducing a ground ball and stranding the bags full once again.
From there, he tossed a neat 1-2-3 sixth before giving way to closer Gavin Robinson, who put the game in the books in relatively short order.
“He’s been the go to guy out of the bullpen,” Clark said of Robinson. “That’s been his job and he’s been doing it all year.”
Leadoff man Henry Matias put the Trojans up as early as possible by homering in the first at-bat of the game, kickstarting the rest of the offense. In the third inning, Manny Pantaleon got the Trojans’ biggest offensive frame started with a single. After a Santiago Cardona walk, Logan Costanzo plated two with a two-bagger. Andrew Labosky tacked on another run with an RBI single, the second of his two hits on the night.
When the same area of the order came up to lead off the sixth inning, they sparked another rally which all but put the nail in the coffin. Back-to-back walks to Pantaleon and Cardona, and another with one out to Labosky, loaded the bases for Matias, who knocked in his second run of the game with a single. Eddie Ayala added on a sac-fly RBI to put the Trojans up by four. The six walks by the bottom of the Taravella lineup and seven total on the night were a testament to the patience the entire Trojans lineup showed all night long. Clark pointed to the great plate vision as a catalyst in the Trojans’ success.
“They were going offspeed early and we made them show us they can throw it for a strike,” Clark said. “That got us into some good hitters counts and we were able to capitalize.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s grudge match with Douglas, Clark knows what to expect. But he also knows his team is primed for another great battle between the two 8A-11 foes.
“This will be the eighth game in the last two years we have played each other,” Clark said. “We both know each other well and there will be a lot of emotions. Every game has been a tight game. We know we are going to see a great arm. They are a very good team. We know we have to come ready to play and we know they will too. It should be a great game.”
The Cooper City Cowboys came into the game riding high after winning three of their last four, including bringing in a district title. They sent the guy who has been their bread and butter all season long, Jeremy Brower, to the mound. Despite the long ball given up to Matias, Brower fared well early, going just two more over the minimum through three innings. Angel Almonte was able to pick Brower up nicely after he exited with two outs in the fourth, keeping the game within reach. Senior Tyler Sabine finished his high school career off with a three-strikeout performance.
Cameron Stadler starred at the plate for the Cowboys, reaching base all four times. In his first at-bat, Stadler undid the damage done by Matias’ home run by knocking in a run. After that, he added two more singles and reached on an error. His ability to reach on that error jump-started a one-out rally for the Cowboys in the fifth inning, as they went on to load the bases.
Left fielder Parker Britton played a fantastic all-around game. Not only did he reach base twice via singles and score a run, he made a spectacular throw from left field to gun down a Trojans runner in the third. The throw, a frozen rope from left field to his catcher, who put a swipe tag on the runner, erased a double and a balk and kept the game within reach.
“Parker had a great game. The throw from the outfield was outstanding. He also exhibited great baserunning all night. He and Cameron both did really well,” Cowboys Manager Chris Delgado said. “We had a couple innings wherre we had runners on where we could have capitalized and it would have been a game-changer. It is disappointing losing the way we did when we had them on the line. We swang the bats well early against their starter but we just couldn’t capitalizie. We made a few mistakes but other than that we played a decent game.”
Despite the loss and the end of the season for the Cowboys, Delgado remains infinitely proud of the effort his team showed throughout the season. With just two starting players graduating, he is excited for more special things to come at Cooper City.
“It’s an up-and-coming program,” Delgado said. “For me to win a district title for them for the first time in 14 years, to turn this program into something special and with all the young talent we have coming up and that was on this team this year is great. I’m going to miss the seniors; we had a great senior class. But the future is bright here and we will be something to be reckoned with in the future.”