Gaither wins its first state baseball title in dramatic fashion

By Katherine Smith, Bright House Sports Network
Last Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2016

It was baseball's David vs. Goliath.

The Gaither Cowboys seeking the school's first baseball title vs. the Venice Indians, seeking their fourth state title in the past five years.

With legendary coach Frank Permuy, the Cowboys former skipper who laid the foundation at Gaither in the stands at jetBlue Park, the Cowboys pulled off the upset with a 2-1 extra inning victory.

Just like they did in their semifinal shutout victory, Gaither came out swinging.

Right fielder Kenny Rodriguez got things started in the top of the first with a two-out double down the left field line. Then Camryn Williams drove Rodriguez in with a single for the first run of the game.

One thing Gaither couldn't get going early like they did in the semis, stealing bases. The Cowboys stole seven bases in their semi win, including three double steals. Venice obviously scouted because they picked off AJ Drisdom at first base in the top of the second.

The Indians tied the game in the bottom of the third with an RBI single. Venice had runners on second and third with one out, but Gaither was able to get out of the jam without further damage.

With the game knotted at 1-all, Jose Cadenas provided a spark for the Cowboys in the top of the sixth with a single to left field. Cadenas stole his team-best 31st  base of the season and with Edgar Nunez's walk, Gaither had runners at first and second with one out.

New Venice pitcher Brent Killam got a strikeout for the second out, then walked Williams to load the bases. Gaither couldn't capitalize with Killam's second strikeout to end the threat.

The Indians threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second and two outs. Joey Kinker drove a deep shot to center, but Cadenas came up with the diving catch to end the inning.

A pitching change in the bottom of the seventh for Gaither with Josh Brobowski replacing starter DJ Masuck, who was solid on the mound for the Cowboys.

Still tied at 1-all after seven, the game went to extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Cadenas gets on base again with a single to right field. A bunt by Nunez moved him to second.

And Rodriguez drove him in with the winning RBI on a fielding error by the Indians.

"I had to keep going," Cadenas said of the winning run. "I couldn't let my team down. It was a do or die play."

Only fitting that in the bottom of the eighth, with Venice runners on second and third with two outs, Cadenas made the final out in centerfield.

"I don't think it has sunk in yet," Cadenas said. "I'm so excited. I can't wait to get on the bus. It's going to be a fun ride home."