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Somerset Academy Drops 6-1 Decision To Miami Springs

Somerset starting pitcher Joshua DiNatale

Preseason hype and expectations, both from a team standpoint and individually can be a heavy burden to carry sometimes.

But the Miami Springs Golden Hawks and their big slugger Jason Torres have answered the call so far.

Fresh off a pair of impressive wins in the Adidas Classic last week at Florida Christian (8-0 over Ferguson, 11-4 over Brito) to open the season, the Golden Hawks kept the early momentum to a season where expectations are very high on Tuesday afternoon, cruising to an easy 6-1 victory over Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy at Springs High School and are off to a 3-0 start.

“We know that everybody has us circled on their schedule now so the boys are coming out and playing hard everyday and that includes practice,” said Springs head coach David Fanshawe. “It’s one thing to show up for the games but they show up for practice everyday and really work hard to get better. That’s important because then that will transfer over into games and you saw that out there today. A very solid performance by everybody.”

Everybody for Fanshawe includes his prize hitter Jason Torres.

Now a senior, Torres is considered one of the best hitters in South Florida and, despite a ton of preseason hype in which he has already committed to the University of Miami and will make a decision on that after the June MLB draft in which the anticipation is that he will be an early pick, has gotten off to a sizzling start this season.

Torres stepped up on Tuesday in the last of the fifth and, despite a stiff breeze blowing in from left field, took an Avion Samuel fastball and launched it over the fence in left-center field for a two run blast to complete the scoring.

Somerset shortstop Caleb Clealand put the tag on Springs’ Jason Torres who was cut down at second base trying to steal in the first inning

He finished his day 2-for-3 with those two RBIs and, combined with what he did against Ferguson and Brito, is off to a 6-for-10, two home run, 7 RBI start to the season.

“He’s just a great hitter, the young man can just hit the baseball,” said Fanshawe. “As far as dealing with the hype? He just knows how to compartmentize everything and that helps him deal with the distractions. He just does a great job of putting all of that stuff aside, and when the umpires says play ball, all he’s trying to do is win a baseball game.”

Torres has now hit a total of 21 home runs since coming in as a freshman at Springs in 2019 and leading the Hawks to the state final four in Fort Myers. That’s a place he would love to finish his high school career but understands that it’s a long season ahead.

“We know the bar is set really high for us here this year so I definitely think getting off to a fast start is important and we want to keep this going,” said Torres. “As far as me and all the hype? I say the same thing I say all the time. This is baseball, it’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun. I just go out there and play. I don’t think about any of that. As long as we win games, that’s all that matters. If I’m playing good, hitting home runs and knocking runs in, good for me but as long as we’re winning that’s the important thing.”

Also turning in an impressive performance on Tuesday was Springs’ starting pitcher Jordan Vargas.

Vargas, along with teammate Brandon Olivera, transferred over from Goleman during the offseason and now hope to be part of something special at Springs. He was special on Tuesday as he took the mound and, in a rarity this early in the season when coaches are guarding arms with strict pitch counts, actually turned in a complete game effort, giving up just four hits while striking out six.

“They kept swinging at first-pitch fast balls and that allowed me to say ahead in the count and have a lot of short at-bats,” said Vargas who entered the last inning at just 68 pitches. “That kept my pitch count down so I really wasn’t surprised Coach Fanshawe left me in there and let me finish it up.”

Vargas’ only rough inning was the first when he gave up two of those four hits to Alex Servilla and Edward Bravo which resulted in a run and an early 1-0 deficit.

The Panthers, who fell to 2-2, actually still held that lead into the last of the third as starter Joshua DiNatale had two good innings to start but then fell behind when the Hawks plated three runs in the third to give Vargas all the offense he would need.

Arit Moreno led off the inning with a single and Anthony Ruiz then drew a walk to put two on. After Jordanny Gonzalez dropped down a sac bunt to advance the runners, leadoff hitter Ruben Gandavilla then delivered with a 2-RBI single to center field, advancing to second on the throw home.

Miami Springs first baseman Jesus Peña tried to put the tag on Somerset’s Alex Servilla as he slides back safely to first on a pickoff attempt.

Gandavilla then scored on a Jordan Perez single to left. Springs added one more run in the fourth when Ruiz launched a deep fly ball to left, scoring Jesus Peña from third on a tag up before Torres’ 2-run blast in the fifth finished things up.

For Somerset head coach Arby Sosa, the 2022 figures to be one of growing pains. Only two seniors were on the field on Tuesday and most of his starting lineup were sophomores.

“I’m proud of them after today’s effort,” said Sosa. “I told them after the game that we faced an outstanding pitcher (Vargas) and an outstanding hitter (Torres) on an outstanding team and hung in there for a portion of the game. We gave up a little bit at the end and maybe lost our confidence and that’s part of being a young team. This season will be a growing process.”

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