The Southridge Spartans are coming back to the field this year with what their coach calls “a bitter taste in their mouth.” The Spartans beat the South Dade Buccaneers in their last regular season game before the Bucs went on to win a state championship. The district 8A-16 Spartans play among South Dade and Killian as three of the top 10 teams in the state. After losing their first round playoff game by just one run last year, head coach Eddie Doskow says he’s setting high hopes for wins this season.
“After fall, I’m very impressed with our pitching staff,” says Doskow. “That’s going to be our strong point. We’re looking to build and be better than we were last year. To be better than that we should be standing at Jet Blue Field winning a state championship. That would be the perfect ending to a perfect year and I think we’re definitely capable of achieving that.”
In addition to a powerful pitching staff, Doskow says the Spartans are strong in hitting and defense. Seven starting defensive players are returning to the team this year. After making minor adjustments in fielding positions, Doskow says his squad is coming out strong all the way around.
“In my 20 years here at Southridge, this might be one of the most solid ball clubs we’ve had. This team is comparable to the team we had in 2002 that played in the state championship game. I think we could be right there again this year.”
The varsity team is comfortable hitting at home on Robbie Smith Field, but has some trouble being consistent on the road. Last season, three of their four losses were away games. This year they’re making sure that doesn’t happen again.
“One thing we’re working on with our hitting is taking a different approach,” says Doskow. “We need to be better offensively and score more runs. We’re trying to work on things to be more consistent. Offense was great at home but on the road it wasn’t. We definitely want to improve on that.”
Eight seniors are coming back to the varsity team, and six of them have already signed with colleges. Three Division 1 commits include Diandre Amion to Alabama State University, Josten Heron to Bethune Cookman and Jamar Criss with Coppin State. Early singing junior college commits are Arlain Sesin to Miami-Dade, Austin Peterson to Hillsborough Community College in Tampa and Julian Rivera to Richland College in Dallas. Doskow says between Amion in left field, Heron in center and Sesin in right, he thinks he has the best outfield in the state. Heading into his third year starting on the varsity, Amion says the team is coming to the field with a different mindset.
“We need to work on the mental side of the game,” says Amion. “Its easy to get caught up with the crowd and the intensity of the game. I want to have fun and make sure we can think outside of the box and be prepared for whatever the pitcher throws.”
Doskow tries to instill a strong work ethic in his players and teaches them to do whatever it takes to win.
“We make sure nobody out works us in Miami-Dade,” says Doskow. “We leave no stone unturned. If every one does their little part and comes to the field and does what they need to do, the averages and numbers will be perfect at the end of the season. We make sure that if a team beats us, it’s because they beat us, not because we beat ourselves.”
The Spartans say that what they’re looking forward to the most is proving themselves when they face off against district rivals South Dade and Killian.