BY GENE NARDI
In the second game of the season for each team, the Royal Palm Beach High School baseball squad defeated Wellington High School by a score of 3-1 on Friday, Feb. 15 in Royal Palm Beach. The Wildcats held off a late rally by the Wolverines to earn the victory.
The Wildcats had a rough start in their opener against South Broward, falling 5-4. Wellington came into the contest having won their opener, a 7-0 rout of Spanish River.
Defense dominated on both sides until the Wildcats opened up with some solid hitting in the bottom of the third inning. Royal Palm Beach was able to load the bases. Wellington’s defensive highlight came when first baseman Phillip Sieli created his own double play when he snared in a high line drive down the first base line, and then got the Wildcat runner out at first.
The Wildcats were still able to drive in two runs to take the lead into the fourth inning. By the close of the fourth inning, the Wildcats would extend their lead 3-0.
In the sixth inning, Royal Palm Beach was able to hold off a Wellington surge. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Wildcat third baseman grabbed a Wolverine fly ball to close out the inning.
Wellington managed one score in the final inning but could not connect at bat with enough success to close the gap, and the Wildcats held on for the 3-1 victory. Royal Palm tallied eight hits. Both teams committed two errors.
Wellington traveled Saturday, Feb. 16 to Boca Raton, where they chalked up an 11-1 victory. The Wolverines followed that up with a Tuesday home game against Seminole Ridge, coming away with an 8-3 victory. Wellington then traveled to John I. Leonard Thursday, Feb. 21, but results were not available at press time.
Royal Palm Beach travels to Key West on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23.
Above: Wellington’s Michael Cusenza dives back to first base as RPB first baseman Matt Melnick looks to make the play.