Sports Contact: J.T. Wilcox, Sports Information Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2019
HIALEAH, FL – Sports might be the only arena where a whole season's worth of work can be boiled down to the outcome of one game or series.
ASA College-Miami's baseball team played 42 games this season but all that matters now is what happens his weekend when the Silver Storm host Pasco-Hernando State College in the NJCAA Region VIII Championship Series.
Given the Silver Storm and the Bobcats are the only two teams in the Division II region, the two will play a best of three series for a spot in the state tournament.
While ASA Miami is the technical host, the series won't be played on the Silver Storm's home diamond of Alex Fernandez Field at Ernest Graham Park. The games will be played at Florida Memorial University (15800 NW 42nd Avenue, Miami, Florida) – beginning Friday at 2 p.m.
Game two will be played Saturday at 12 noon and a decisive game-three would be played Saturday evening if necessary.
This weekend's series will mark the fourth such meeting between the programs. Pasco-Hernando owns the series all-time, winning two of the three series. ASA Miami advanced past the Bobcats in 2017, sweeping them by a combined score of 21-2.
Silver Storm first-year head coach Robert Martin said he's looking forward to this weekend's games because he feels his team is gelling at the right time.
"Just like any other season, you're going to have your ups and downs," said Martin, who was an assistant with ASA in 2018 before being promoted to head coach before the start of the 2019 season.
"We didn't start out as hot as we expected and we kind of got better as the season went on. As of late, our pitching and defense have held us in ball games, which is something that we needed from the start. Offensively we've been consistent."
"Now that all three aspects of the game are syncing, I'm looking forward to this weekend," Martin said.
Offense has not been an issue for the Silver Storm this year. Out of the 42 regular season games this year, ASA Miami was held to two runs or less just five times. On the flip side, the Silver Storm have scored five runs or more 25 times this year.
The team is batting .292 collectively with a .383 on-base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage. Martin's team also has also hit the second-most home runs in a season (23) in program history this year.
While some subscribe to the adage that "the best defense is a good offense", Martin knows that the road to beating Pasco-Hernando (22-21) goes through two familiar towns.
"Pitching and defense," Martin said when asked about what his team needed in order to be successful this weekend.
"That's what it's going to come down to, that's what championship series' usually come down to – pitching and defense. Pasco-Hernando is a great ball club. They've beaten some good opponents this season. And they're known to be a scrappy group, they don't give up, they fight. So, we have to make sure that once we're up, that we keep our foot on the gas pedal."
ASA Miami is coming into this weekend's series riding a three-game winning streak and has had the benefit of having nearly a whole week to heal and prepare for the Bobcats.
Martin said he's liked what he's seen out of his squad the past handful of games through practice this week.
"Our hottest guy right now is John Kenney – on the bump over the past four weekends, he's been very consistent and has given us a chance to win ball games. I'm also looking for big things from centerfielder Jorge Sabio, he's been hitting very well as of late," Martin said.
"To be honest with you, everyone is locked in right now and that's the biggest thing."
"We have a redshirt freshman starting game one, we have another freshman starting game two" Martin added. "And we've got dogs in the [bull]pen that are going to come out and do their job. I'm very happy with what I have and I'm very confident in everyone going into this weekend."