Wildcats in midst of spring sports action


Bethune-Cookman had the MEAC South Division title slip away after getting swept by archrival Florida A&M University in Tallahassee last week.

Bethune-Cookman’s Brashad Johnson is shown in a series last weekend against the University of Miami. The Hurricanes won the series despite a good showing by the Wildcats. (PHOTOS BY KIM GIBSON/DAYTONA TIMES)

B-CU also missed out on being the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.

FAMU beat B-CU 6-3 in the series opener in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.

“FAMU did a good job of putting the ball in play. Their slap hitters got loose,” said Chris Cochrane, B-CU’s head softball coach.

Sabrina Ferguson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for the Lady Wildcats. Cesley Tafoya also was 2-for-2 and Michelle Banuelos-Smith 2-for-4 for B-CU.

The following day, the Rattlers took a doubleheader from the Wildcats, winning by scores of 6-5 in the first game and 8-0 in the second game.

B-CU rallied from a four-run deficit and tied game one at four after a two-run homerun by Aurelia Gamch in the top of the sixth inning.

FAMU (23-26, 10-4) took the lead when Tenish Dixon stole third and scored on a fielding error.

Gamch finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs to lead B-CU. Banuelos-Smith was also 2-for-4 with an RBI and Breanna Chavez 2-for-3 for the Wildcats.

Tafoya and Gamch each had a hit for B-CU in the second game.

MEAC Tournament
The Ladies now turn their attention to the MEAC Tournament, which they will host at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.

The eight-team double-elimination tournament will take place from May 10-12 with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats are shown before the game against UM.

The Wildcats (26-28, 11-4) are the No. 2 South seed and will face No. 3 North Seed Norfolk State University (23-23, 12-6).

B-CU is the third overall seed for the tournament. Delaware State (25-16-1, 14-3) the No. 1 North seed is the top overall seed and Savannah State (24-22, 12-3) the No. 1 South seed is the second overall seeded team.

B-CU top players: P Shanel Tolbert (26-24, 3.21 ERA, 47 CG, 6 SO; Banuelos-Smith (.365BA, 8HR, 37 RBIs, 11 SB); Gamch (.331 BA, 3 HR, 27 RBIs), Karina Romero (.324 BA, 20 RBIs), Calesha Shelly (.295 BA, 40 R, 11 SB), Kelsi Rodney (.273 BA, 4 HR, 30 RBIs).

Outlook: The Wildcats at one point this season had a 24-game conference win streak. They are very capable of winning it and will have the home field advantage. The tournament is wide open but the serious contenders along with the Wildcats are Delaware State, South No. 3 seeded Florida A&M (23-26, 10-4) and Savannah State. B-CU will have to play at its best in each game.

Baseball: B-CU swept by Miami
On the diamond, the Wildcats had a good showing against national powerhouse, the University of Miami.

The No. 19 Hurricanes (30-17) still found away to sweep B-CU (28-21) in the three-game series.

Michael Broad’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth scored Dale Carey as Miami edged Bethune-Cookman 4-3 in the series finale on Sunday.

“I felt like we battled and had the game one but we tightened under pressure and gave up the lead,” responded Jason Beverlin, B-CU head coach.

Josh Johnson was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored to lead B-CU. His steal of home plate in the top of the eighth inning gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.

Brashad Johnson was 2-for-4 for B-CU.

On Saturday, B-CU’s rally fell short as Miami won the second game of the series 5-4.

“It came down to executing the little things. We jumped on them but we gave them 13 free bases. You can’t do that against a team of this caliber,” commented Beverlin.

Jairo Acevedo led the Wildcats going 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Brashad Johnson hit a solo homerun while Nick Johnson, Brandon Turner and David Lee each had two hits to chip in.

The Hurricanes blanked the Wildcats in the series opener 7-0. Brashad Johsnon was 2-for-4 for B-CU.

B-CU Pitcher Montana Durapau was named MEAC Pitcher of the Week. He went 1-1 with a 1.00 ERA picking up a win against Florida International and pitched well in a loss to #19 Miami.

The Wildcats returned home to face Jacksonville (16-33) on Tuesday and Florida International (28-20) on Wednesday, which was after the Daytona Times’ deadline. B-CU travels to Savannah State (19-27, 10-11) to conclude the regular season on May 11-12.

Wildcats show well at MEAC meet
Bethune-Cookman finished third in the team standings on the men’s side and seventh on the women’s side at the MEAC Outdoor Championships in Greensboro, N.C.

The third place finishes was the highest for the Wildcats in 10 years and best since 2008 when they finished fourth.

“With a couple of new conference records to add to B-CU’s track resume, we now put our focus on the NCAA East Regionals later this month. My assistant coaches did an excellent job this weekend,” said Coach Donald Cooper.

Leading the way on the men’s side for B-CU was Akeem Barthol (4.37m/14’4”), who won the pole vault and Martin Embry (6,218 points), who took the decathalon.

On the women’s side Sasha Smallwood (3.58m/11’9”) won the pole vault, setting a MEAC record. Kadian Dunkley won both the 5k race (18:33.57) and 300m steeplechase (11:06.99). Dunkley set a MEAC record in the steeple chase.


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