Durant’s Baseball Season Ends In The Postseason

Lily Belcher, Editor In Chief

After an incredible season, where coaches, seniors, and underclassmen all had their own individual highlights, the Durant High School baseball team concluded the 2021 season after a 1-0 loss to Spruce Creek High School in the Class 7A FHSAA state semifinals.

“It was a huge accomplishment, especially losing one of our seniors early on in the season to an injury,” said Coach Ulysses Valdes, “So, it was huge to get that far and to be in the final four in the state of Florida.”

The game, played in Fort Myers, went to eight innings (one inning over regulation for high school games) after remaining scoreless through the 7 1/3 innings thrown by senior and starting pitcher Sean Hermann. Valdes has praised Hermann’s performance throughout his final season as a Durant Cougar, but his performance in the semifinals was the icing on the cake to close out Hermann’s senior year.

Hermann threw a scoreless game and was only pulled after he reached 105 pitches, the maximum number of pitches allowed for high school pitchers. He gave up only four hits and struck out nine batters, giving him a season total of 135 strikeouts and a .36 ERA.

Valdes also credited Durant’s performance to shortstop Aidan Welsh, sophomore, who had a good defensive game, and junior Oscar Fernandez, who hit a double in the eight.

“Oscar Fernandez, my junior, had a big key hit, but a lot of the players did very well,” said Coach Valdes.

Durant’s other two hits were singles from senior Austin Sewell and freshman Carlos Morales.

“The best part of the season was being able to go back and beating a team that posed a big problem with us, [Riverview High School], going back to their house and beating them pretty bad to show that we were still in the fight,” Coach Valdes said referring to the playoff 7-0 win against Riverview Sarasota.

After this season’s accomplishments, Coach Valdes is looking forward to next season.

“We are going to go back to work. We’re going to start this summer,” Coach Valdes said about their optimistic preparation for next season. “We have a lot of young guys coming back [and] we’re going to look for a few more guys to fill the holes of all fourteen seniors. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but we have a lot of young pups to do it.”