With four victories in its first five games in Ralph Henriquez's return as coach, the Key West High baseball team will play its first road game at 3:30 this afternoon against longtime rival Gulliver Prep in Miami.
The District 16-4A contest will be broadcast on WKWF-AM (1600). Gulliver is 2-2, with victories over Westminster Christian and Ransom Everglades, and losses to Killian and American.
"We're going to go out and just keep getting good pitching and catch the ball," Henriquez said. "As long as you pitch and play good defense, you've got a chance."
Sophomore Greg Veliz will start on the mound for the Conchs, with Steven Wells and Brandon Presley ready in relief.
Key West is coming off a 10-0 five-inning victory over Keys Gate in the district opener last Friday night at Rex Weech Field. Presley pitched the shutout, going all five innings and allowing three hits.
The Conchs scored three runs in the first inning, two on a triple by designated hitter Darren Miller, who was batting for the first time in the regular season. He then came home on a single by Presley.
Miller had been out since straining his forearm while pitching in a preseason game. Henriquez said the Florida State-bound senior will be the DH again today, but that it will be a week before he can play second base. Henriquez did not know when Miller will pitch again.
Key West added four runs in the fourth inning, one on a double by Veliz and three on a homer to center field by first baseman Hugo Valdes. "He's seeing the ball good and has worked extra hard at batting," Henriquez said of Valdes, who is hitting over 600.
A two-run single by Chris Varela made it 9-0 in the bottom of the fifth, and Jay Feathers followed with an RBI single that ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
The Conchs will return home for 7:30 games Friday and Saturday against Stoneman Douglas. Friday will be Military Appreciation Night, with all active, reserve and former military personnel with an ID getting in free.