BY JAKE LENDER & JEREMY JACKSON
The baseball team (3-2) took on the Cooper City Cowboys (2-2) in its district opener on Feb. 19. The Lightning beat the Cowboys 3-0. Pitcher Luis Sucre pitched a complete game shutout for Cypress Bay after striking out 11 batters and giving up six hits over seven innings.
“Anytime you have a good game on the mound it feels good,” said Sucre, a senior. “It helps build confidence not only within you but with your teammates.”
This was the first district game of the season for the Lightning as they look to repeat as district champions.
“Winning gives us a lot of confidence and feeds our hunger and the desire for another district championship,” first baseman Alex Valladares said.
After each game he pitches, Sucre needs to immediately start his recovery. Pitching for seven innings puts a lot of stress on his throwing arm, so it is important to rest it in order to be available to pitch in the next game.
“I ice my arm for about 15-20 minutes after the game,” he said. “On my second and fourth recovery days I go into the bullpen and throw for a little bit.”
The game took place on one of the coldest nights of the year as the temperatures dipped into the 40s. Valladares, a senior, said that even though the cold was a factor during warm up eventually the players just learned to deal with it.
“At first it was hard to get used to it, so we were playing tight,” he said. “Thankfully, Coach Liotti had warned us about the cold and made sure we were well prepared for it.”
The Lightning played well on the defensive end as the boys didn’t commit any errors.
“We really wanted to win this game for each other and especially for the fans that came out to show their support for us,” center fielder Joey Rodriguez said.
Several players on the team have pregame rituals. Before every game Sucre eats a bag of Skittles just to mentally prepare himself.
The Lightning’s second district matchup will be at Piper High School (6-1) on Feb. 26.