PORT ST. LUCIE — Being in the state tournament Friday afternoon was nothing new for Alonso, but being behind was.
The Ravens arrived at Digital Domain Park with aspirations of winning back-to-back 6A titles. Before they knew it, their dreams quickly unraveled in a parade of uncharacteristic miscues.
“It was kind of new to us,” senior shortstop Tito Martinez said. “Every time we looked at the scoreboard it said two, one, one, one. We’re not really used to looking up at the scoreboard and seeing the other team score a run every inning just about.”
The Ravens aren’t a comeback team. They haven’t had to be. They’ve ridden pitching and defense the past two seasons. But in Friday’s state semifinal, Alonso’s championship hopes were dashed by Hialeah American 10-5.
“They’re teenage kids,” coach Landy Faedo said. “It’s a lot of pressure for them, but it’s a learning experience and they’ll have it in their memory bank in the future. They’re hurting inside right now. We all are. …How are you going to come back from it?”
Alonso senior left-hander Thomas Dorminy, the hero of last-year’s state run, struggled with his control, lasting just nine batters into the game. The Patriots didn’t hit the USF recruit — they had one hit — but Dorminy issued four walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and a balk.
Four errors didn’t help the Ravens’ cause and forced Alonso (25-6) to play catchup throughout. After 3½ innings, the Ravens were down 9-0, in danger of being a victim of the five-inning, 10-run mercy rule.
Alonso rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fourth, a frame anchored by Jose Fernandez’s RBI double and Brandon Johnson’s two-run double.
American (21-7) expected to see Fernandez, who was excellent working in relief, on the mound to start. And Fernandez kept his team within reach, pitching 31/3 innings of two-hit, one-run ball while striking out five. But American starter James Monroe (62/3 innings, seven hits, three earned runs) kept the Ravens at bay.
“There’s no clock in this game,” Faedo said. “We talked about it, that if we were able to make a run, that it would probably be one of the best comebacks in tournament history.”
But the Ravens’ final laundry list of mistakes — seven walks, three wild pitches, two hit batters, four errors, two passed balls — was too much to overcome.
“They showed some fight and scored some runs, it just fell short,” Faedo said. “We just didn’t put a stop to it quick enough.”