Glades Central sweeps Glades Day for first time

The Glades Central Raiders varsity baseball team has swept their rival, Glades Day Gators, for the first time in school history.

The Raiders held on to get the 5-4 win over the Gators on April 10, completing the sweep following their 9-6 win back on March 5.

Glades Central head coach Rene Leon says even though his team had already beaten the Gators earlier in the season, he didn’t take this game for granted.

Special to the Okeechobee News/GCHS
Glades Central head coach Rene Leon holds a meeting at the mound during the sixth inning of the Raiders’ game against the Glades Central Gators on April 10. From left to right: Eric Leon, Franky Reyes and Rene Leon.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Leon. “Every time I go into a rivalry game I know the other team is going to come out competing so we’re going to have to go out and perform. I knew they were going to be better because we were seeing them later in the season, and they were. But we came out on top.”

During that first match-up GCHS senior David Gonzalez and sophomore Franky Reyes led the Raiders in hits with two each, while Reyes and junior Venanza Vereen each were able to bring in two RBIs.

Gonzalez also led the team in RBIs during the second game, bringing in one run, while Gonzalez was tied in hits with junior Cristian Rodriguez with each having two.

The momentum swung back and forth for much of the game, with both teams trading scores early until things were all knotted up at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning. That’s how things remained until the sixth inning, when the Raiders added two more runs to take the 5-3 lead. And although the Gators were able to add a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth, that’s as close as they could get.

“I knew the game was going to come down to who played better in the last two innings,” said Leon. “And we were able to win the game because we came away with no errors in those last two innings.”

GCHS sophomore Franky Reyes gets the win on the mound for the Raiders, pitching six and a half innings and allowing four hits, four runs and throwing four strikeouts. Freshman Miguel Perez closed things out for Glades Central, allowing no hits and no runs.

“I felt comfortable at the end with my freshman pitcher coming in,” said Leon of the left-handed Perez. “I trusted my defense with his pitching.”

Senior Eric Leon, coach Rene Leon’s younger brother, also had a good game at catcher for the Raiders, throwing out two Glades Day runners to preserve the Glades Central lead.

Eric had actually transferred to Glades Central from Glades Day when his older brother Rene took up coaching duties for the Raiders varsity team. Coach Leon said his younger brother had a little extra motivation to get the season sweep over his old school.

Now the Raiders are preparing to play the last few games of their regular season, with two games against Pahokee, one against Moore Haven and another against powerhouse LaBelle.

“We want to be able to compete with a team like LaBelle,” said Leon.

“We want to look at every team we’re playing from here on out as a great team. Because we don’t want to get complacent going into districts. We’re going to go out there, have fun and play Raider baseball the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Glades Central will host the Pahokee Blue Devils at 6:30 p.m. on April 18.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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