SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ten Suncoast baseball teams will play in the regional baseball playoffs beginning Wednesday night, and for the first time in 19 seasons, the Riverview Rams won their district so they will host a regional quarterfinal game.
It has been a long time coming, but the Rams are district champs for the first time since 1996. “It was awesome. We preached all year that it is not how you start, but how you finish, and we really held true to that this season," says head coach Chuck Antczak.
To get there, they had to beat the top 2 seeds to win the district, and they did -- beating Manatee and St. Petersburg. "We've had solid pitching, and our bats came along at the right time, and we took advantages of the teams miscues," says Antczak.
With those wins though, came a big loss. Their starting catcher and their best Major League draft prospect Justin Cohen injured his finger and is out for the playoffs.
Teammates are confident Brett McCabe will be an able fill-in. “Luckily we have a 4-year player, Brett McCabe, that is ready to play, and we think he will do okay," says pitcher and infielder Alex Detwiler.
The Rams play Tampa Bloomingdale on Thursday night, and this senior-laden team has a good feeling heading into regionals. “We have a core of nine 4-year seniors, and a good solid infield. It is really down to that core group," says senior pitcher and infielder Matthew Peters.