High school state championship tops Cadenas’ best career moment — so far

Spartans outfielder hoping National Championship in Tampa supplants that

Jose Cadenas smiling while walking off the field.
Tampa's Jose Cadenas is all smiles as he walks off the field during their game against Flager. The Spartans outfielder aims to win a National Championship with his club. (Courtesy University of Tampa) 

Winning the state championship in high school meant a lot to Spartans outfielder Jose Cadenas.

As a junior, Cadenas starred on a Gaither team that reached the mountaintop to become the 2016 Class 7A State Champions.

The fact that the right-hander missed nearly the entire previous year due to injury made the victory much sweeter.

“We went through a lot of ups and downs, a lot of coaches meetings, a lot of challenges throughout the year,” Cadenas said in a video interview. “And then winning that championship with that team.”

Cadenas, who came to Tampa as an eight-year-old from Cuba, suffered a freak injury in his second year of high school when he was hit in the hand with a baseball.

Doctors initially put the cast on wrong, he said. This complicated and delayed his recovery period, forcing him to miss all but the first three games of his sophomore season.

The injured Gaither Cowboy felt helpless watching his team get close to the championship.

“I was like, ‘Damn, I’m on the bench, I could definitely help my team,’ ” Cadenas said. “Once you’re not on the field, you’re itching to be there.”

Cadenas came back with a vengeance in his junior season, leading the team in batting average (.398), hits (33), and stolen bases (32). More importantly, he helped Gaither win the program’s first ever state title.

Fast-forward to today, Cadenas is a key contributor in Tampa’s bid to win another National Championship.

In a video scrum, Spartans head coach Joe Urso called Cadenas the team’s “best defensive outfielder.”

“He can drive an opposition crazy with the amount of ways he can beat you with handling the bat in his speed and defence.”

Led by the five-time National Champion coach, the University of Tampa baseball program is synonymous with winning.

Cadenas feels good about their campaign so far. But he knows not bringing home the trophy by the end of the season means falling short of their expectations as a team.

“We can go 50-0, but no championship, the end-goal was not met,” the outfielder said. “That’s what we work for throughout the fall and the spring – to get the ring.”

Asked about his best career moment so far, Cadenas admits the historic championship with Gaither tops it all.

“And hopefully, this year will be the one,” the junior added, referring to the possibility of winning a National Championship in Tampa.

About this article

Posted: Mar 26 2022 7:54 pm
Filed under: Baseball Sports