Local Sports

Conch losing streak is taking its toll

Coming off a sixth consecutive loss, the 11-13 Key West High baseball team will conclude the regular season at 6 p.m. Friday against Park Vista in Lake Worth.

To say that Park Vista (16-4) is good would be an “understatement,” said Key West coach Ralph Henriquez. “But I deserve this,” he added, referring to the tough schedule he set up for the Conchs.

At no level of baseball in his long career has Henriquez coached a team with a six-game losing streak. “I’ve never even had a four-game losing streak,” he said.

But now he’s faced with the reality that the streak will be seven when the Conchs open the District 16-5A tournament Tuesday night at Rex Weech Field. They need to win the game to get into the state playoffs. If they lose, their season ends.

The Conchs defeated Keys Gate twice in the regular season, “but they’re playing better than we are,” Henriquez said.

The Conchs lost to visiting Hallandale, 3-2, last Friday night, wasting another strong pitching performance from junior Kyle Iarrobino, who pitched five scoreless innings and left with a 2-0 lead. But Hallandale got to relievers Ty Hughes and Grevert Soza in the last two innings for the come-from-behind victory.

“That’s what we do,” Henriquez said.

The offense continued to be anemic with only six hits, two by Andrew Karch. “We don’t hit anything,” Henriquez said. “It’s a struggle to even hit a double.”

A scheduled Saturday afternoon game between the two teams was canceled because of rain.

Asked about the mood of his players, Henriquez said that some are still focused on winning but “some have given up, and there’s another group that is lethargic emotionally.”

What it comes down to, he added, is, “We’re not finishing games and they don’t understand that. Hopefully, we can turn that around.”