BY GENE NARDI
On Thursday, April 16, the Royal Palm Beach High School varsity softball team hosted the District 13-7A playoffs at Vivian Ferrin Park and landed in the finals against nemesis West Boca High School, falling to the Bulls 5-2.
The third-seeded Wildcats (14-8) defeated William T. Dwyer High School earlier in the week 5-2 to advance against top seed West Boca (21-5) in the finals.
Both teams struggled early on in the first two innings, but West Boca drew first blood, plating the first run to take a 1-0 lead in the third inning. The Bulls continued to roll to four more runs headed into the seventh inning.
Wildcat Breanna Kreitzman gave Royal Palm Beach the spark it needed when she launched a line-drive single into left field in the top of the sixth inning. The Wildcats’ efforts fell short, however, and they entered the top of the seventh desperate for some results at the plate.
Megann Linardos and Brett Petersen both hit line-drive singles, loading the bases, and teammates eventually drove in two runs to cut into the West Boca lead in the top of the seventh inning, making it 5-2. For the moment, it seemed as if the Wildcats could not be stopped, but a stingy Bulls defense ended the dreams of a Royal Palm Beach comeback victory, and the Bulls grabbed the District 13-7A crown for the third time in four years.
The Wildcats earned runner-up honors.
“We knew what to expect, having played them [West Boca] three times and going into extra innings twice,” Royal Palm Beach coach Scott Hill said. “We stepped up on the plate, but we didn’t finish the little things.”
Royal Palm Beach’s appearance in the final match against the Bulls qualified them for the regional tournament to play Coconut Creek’s Monarch High School this week, but results were not available at press time.
ABOVE: The 2015 District 13-7A runner-up Royal Palm Beach Wildcats.