Updated: May 16
By: Diego Perez-Torres
As the regular season ends, the Columbus Explorers have had what some might say is an awe-inspiring season. Finishing with a regular season record of 20-4, many expected the Explorers to have a successful regular season and are one game away from the state semi-final.
Looking back to the beginning of the season, many of the Explorers that Coach Webber highlighted in the begin of the season had a phenomenal regular season - some of those players are Luis Miguel '23, Carlos Jacome '23, Zhair Barjam '25, Franklin Francisco '24, and Julian Gonzalez '23.
These players along with some surprise season performances from players like Jovan Swasey '23 and Jose Correa '25, helped the Columbus offense have a phenomenal year with a team batting average of .324 and a total of 19 home runs, 203 hits, and 145 RBIs. They also have outscored their opponents 160-48 this year. These offensive numbers coupled with the Columbus pitching staff's one-two punch of Ace Gabriel Cruz who posted a .069 era with 82 strikeouts in over 50 innings and Nick Zarranz who posted a 1.54 ERA over 45 and 1/3 innings pitched with 50 strikeouts.
"We've had a very successful regular season and we are on a 12-game winning streak. Hopefully, we can use that momentum into the playoffs," Miguel said.
Columbus also came into the season being the favorite for the GMAC championship which they ended up winning in an intense game against Felix Varela High School 5-4. A first-inning home run from senior Carlos Jacome and a 5 inning gem
from Cruz lead the Explorers to extra innings where third baseman/reliever Julian Gonzalez gave up one run over 3 innings and held it down for Columbus in extras where junior Evan Escobar recorded the game-winning hit to give the Explorers the win and the GMAC championship. This game, which was entertaining for those watching, shows other teams what this Columbus team would look like in a postseason setting and lets all those "haters" who don't believe Columbus that they better start.
As mentioned at the beginning of the year, Coach Weber mention how he thinks the Explorer's defense would be very solid and help them when they need it most, the Explorers this year over 24 games had a team fielding percentage of .965 which by many would be considered above average. Throughout the season, the solid defense has helped Columbus out of tough situations and put them into a position where they can win.
"Our main goal is to win the state title. We're taking it one game at a time but we're ready," senior Santiago Carriles-Alvarado. said.
On Tuesday, May 2 the Explorers faced off against the Hialeah Gardens Gladiators for the second postseason game of the district. The Gladiators jump in front with an early 3-1 lead at the halfway point of the second inning. Then the Gladiators seemed to get a little bit too comfortable as Columbus would have a 5-run inning and end up scoring 12 unanswered runs, mercy ruling the Gladiators with a final score of 13-3.
Now the Explorers look to win their district against rival the Braddock Bulldogs, who Columbus eliminated in the district final last year. The game will take place today, Thursday, May 4th, the Explorers look to have a packed house filled with their fans and alumni.
The Explorers ended their regular season with an 11-game win streak leading into the playoffs, which is one of the best ways that a team can enter the postseason, with that they can use that momentum to go get their third state title and achieve greatness again.
Regular season results are below:
February 21 - W vs Coral Reef: 15-0
February 23- W vs somerset academy: 12-1
February 27- W vs Braddock: 10-0
March 3- w vs Goleman Gators: 9-2
March 6- L vs Westminster Christian: 1-3
March 9- W vs Western Wildcats: 3-1
March 14- w vs Key West conchs: 4-0
March 16- L vs West Boca: 1-4
March 17- L vs Southwest: 0-2
March 20- w vs St Brendan: 4-2
March 21- w vs Mater Lakes Academy: 5-2
March 24- L vs Stoneman Douglas: 6-8
March 29- w vs Miami senior high: 14-1
March 30- w vs Hialeah Gardens: 3-1
March 31- w vs Westminister Academy: 13-1
April 3- w vs Palmetto Panthers: 11-1
April 5- w vs West Boca Bulls: 5-2
April 6- w vs Flanagan: 10-2
April 10- w vs Miami Beach: 7-0
April 14- w vs Goleman Gators: 1-0
April 18- w vs Miami Springs: 5-3
April 20- w vs Felix Varela:5-4
April 22- w vs West Broward: 12-6
April 27-w vs South Dade: 4-3
May 2-w vs Hialeah Gardens: 13-3