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March 16, 2010
Hialeah Senior High School

As sure a sign of the coming spring as any. More accurate than any groundhog and with the same scientific exactness as the astronomical equinox. Life is renewed. The Earth is reborn. Hope springs eternal. It's opening day. This first game for the 2010 version of the T-Bred nine can be described as...indescribable. Being no hit in the pre-season opener through five and two thirds inning by Goleman and then losing 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Hialeah rallied for a not to be believed if not seen 4-3 victory. After the events that unfolded at Alex Fernandez Field, the art of fiction will need to be reworked. Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King would seem as mere amateurs compared to the improbable, the suspense, the shock that stretched the limits of credibility witnessed in the seventh inning.   

Playing as the host team, Hialeah took to the diamond sending junior Randy Lopez to the hill. Lopez looked sharp through four innings. The right hander gave up five hits, all singles while striking out six in his tenure. All Lopez had to show for his labor was a 1-0 deficit via an unearned run. The first journey into the bizarre which will be here discussed is the non appearance of anything remotely resembling offense for the T-Breds. It seems no one informed the Hialeah bats there was a baseball game to be played. Lead off hitter Randy Santiesteban reached second on a dropped fly ball error. That would be the last T-Bred to reach base until the the fifth inning.

Robert Rodriguez relieved Lopez in the fifth and pitched two workmanlike innings getting in some trouble but managing his way out. As with Lopez, all Rodriguez had to show for a good initial outing was an unearned run. Hialeah managed two base runners in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a base on balls and an error putting runners on second and third. Both would be stranded. The T-Breds trailed 2-0 after five and had not yet come close to their first base hit. Rodriguez pitched two innings surrendering a single while striking out one. A ray of hope shown forth in the bottom of the sixth as with two outs senior third baseman Rangel Ravelo singled up the middle breaking up the would be Gator no hitter. Two successive base on balls then loaded the bases. All three runners were marooned there. The slight but steady rainfall that had begun in the middle of the fifth inning seemed to set a mood of gloom to the T-Bred faithful there assembled.

Raul Garcia, a newcomer to Hialeah, relieved Rodriguez in the seventh and was greeted in his T-Bred debut with a bunt single and a run scoring double on two pitches. Garcia settled down after giving up the T-Bred pitching staff's only earned run of the night but with no evidence of any sort of offensive spark, the damage seemed to have been done. Going into the bottom of the seventh the T-Breds, in their red jerseys and matching fire engine red Mohawk haircuts, had looked more like glam rocker David Bowie than a ball club up to that point. Then came the bottom of the seventh. Pinch hitter Sergio Gonzalez, another new face in the Hialeah dugout, drew a lead off full count base on balls Gonzlaez was pinch run for by Carlos Malvarez. Following at the bat, catcher Robert Llera who hit a very hard liner right at the Gator third baseman. One out. Center fielder Cody Fulton, the ninth hitter in the order, then singled through the left side for the T-Breds second hit of the evening. Lead off Randy Santiesteban who had been very quiet since reaching on the error in the first got very loud all of a sudden. Turning the gloom of just an inning before into an "OH BOY!!" Santiesteban flighted a 1-1 pitch into the fence in left field near the foul pole. The spheroid just missed leaving the premises. The runners that were on base had to hold making sure the ball was not caught. That meant Santiesteban had just collected for his first hit of the season what amounted to about a 330 foot single loading the bases. An infield fly followed however. Two outs. Ravelo followed at the bat and was quickly in an 0-2 hole. He who plays at the T-Bred hot corner then fouled off two pitched at worked the count full. On the eighth pitch he saw Ravelo transported the at that point almost lost Hialeah cause from the confines of Alex Fernandez Field to the municipal boundary of Suffragette City. Ravelo ripped a smash into the fence in right center for a stand up double clearing the bases and equaling the game. Scoring was Malvarez. Scoring was Fulton. Scoring was Santiesteban. Standing on second representing the winning run was Ravelo. As improbable, as nerve wracking, as surreal as what just had occurred seemed, the game was about to get spiders from Mars (to keep with the Bowie motif) weird. Senior shortstop Michael DeJesus now took his place at the bat. DeJesus got a hold of a 1-2 offering sending it in the general direction of the next star system. Ground control could radio Major Tom letting him know that this one was coming his way. Where just a moment before the T-Breds were losing 3-0 and down to their last strike, as the ball sailed over the left center field fence, Ravelo came home with the walk off winning run. Hialeah had won 4-3. Overcome with joy, DeJesus stopped running after touching first and joined in the celebration. So even though he had hit the ball out, DeJesus was officially credited with only an RBI single.

The T-Breds finished with five hits. Four of them coming in the seventh inning. Hialeah plays in their second and last game of the pre-season tournament on Thursday against the American Patriots at Alex Fernandez Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm.   

Written by Bob Delafe    

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