Crowder sophomore shortstop Freilin Cabrera got off to a slow start, a very slow start in fact, in the Region 16 tournament with a 0 for 5 and two strikeouts in the opening game last Thursday against State Fair.
Over the last four games of the tourney, however, Cabrera collected 10 hits, five runs scored, three doubles, one home run, and six RBI.
Cabrera helped Crowder win four straight games en route to a region title and South Central District tournament berth.
“I feel really good,” the Dominican Republic native said through an interpreter. “I feel glad about God and the coaching staff. We did that for the team and the family back home, and everybody in the United States.”
In the second winner-takes-all championship game against State Fair, Cabrera reversed an outcome from the opening game.
In the opener, with Crowder trailing 5-4, Cabrera stepped up to the plate with Jacob Galbraith at third, Jorden Hussein at second, and Cameron Tissue at first, all with one down. Cabrera faced State Fair freshman southpaw Garrett Morrow and went down on strikes on four pitches.
Once again facing Morrow on Saturday night, with a game tied at 1, Cabrera came up with Brinson Williams at third and Tissue at first, and one down.
Just as it looked like a repeat strikeout performance against Morrow, Cabrera connected on Morrow’s fourth pitch and his single brought home Williams for a 2-1 lead.
This run proved to be more than enough for Crowder sophomore pitcher Colten Weber.
“I swung at two bad pitches,” Cabrera said. “I was focused on looking for my pitch, his fastball or a good curveball, so that I could drive the run in. I did that. I was looking for my pitch and he did that.”
“I’ve said from the start that he’s a very special player,” Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said. “It was the same exact matchup, the same exact setup besides one runner less as the other day. Same pitcher, same everything, and he shot the ball through. It was a two-strike count just like it was (Thursday). It almost looked like the same at-bat. Chasing the ball in the zone. Again, the perseverance and sticking with the plan. He’s a guy with a short memory. You just go out and compete and battle. He did that.”
Cabrera enters the district tournament with a .395 average (85-215), 66 runs scored, 18 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 69 RBI, 17 walks and 19 strikeouts, and 32 stolen bases in 37 attempts. Cabrera likes to go to the opposite field, a good sign of a great hitter.
“I’m just thinking about making good contact with the ball,” Cabrera said. “Like the pitcher threw that pitch on the outside and I just go with the ball for a line drive to the opposite field.”
Cabrera ranks 12th in the nation in RBI, 25th in runs scored, and 18th in steals.