For the Christopher Columbus High School baseball program winning is an expectation. After winning the state championship in 2003 and reaching the final in 2012, the Explorers are hungry for this year’s title. Senior Christopher Coipel has pitched like an animal, throwing back to back complete game one hitters against two of the top teams in the county. Combine these incredible performances on the mound with a batting lineup that is starting to come alive, and a legitimate title threat is formed at Columbus.
During the past two seasons Columbus has wielded good rosters. In 2013 the Explorers won the GMAC tournament thanks to good hitting and a pitching staff spearheaded by current University of Miami pitcher Bryan Garcia. Despite the talented roster, however, Columbus was bounced early after getting upset by district foe Southwest. The streak of playoff loses then continued in 2014 when the Explorers were defeated by the eventual state champion South Dade.
For the seniors on this roster those loses are still fresh in mind. After working for a full year to improve as a ball club, Columbus is now set on avenging those defeats.
“Everybody has got that bitter taste of losing and going home”, Columbus shortstop Danny Casals said, “You never want to end your season with a loss, so if we can end it with a win that would be even better”.
Standing at a record of 25-5 the Columbus baseball team is currently ranked number one in the miamidadehighschoolbaseball.com power rankings. After going through the GMAC tournament without a loss the Explorers have as much momentum as anyone heading into Fort Myers. Their first opponent in the tournament is 28-2 Park Vista, a team that is ranked number two in the nation according to the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. The Cobras have breezed through their schedule thus far, thanks to a pitching rotation led by projected day one MLB draft pick Austin Smith and are sure to provide a huge challenge for the Explorers.
There is no doubt that moving into this matchup the Explorers bats are going to have catch fire. They will have to continue to come together and gain control of the game by scoring early. If you are the Explorers, however, why can’t you do this? If this season has proven anything for Columbus it is that if you work hard together, as a team, then anything is possible.