WHS Wins Softball Regional Title With Grand Slam

The 2017 Regional champion Wellington Wolverines

On Friday, May 12, the Wellington High School girls varsity softball team hosted Winter Park’s Lake Howell High School in the regional finals and rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning behind Sarah Longley’s grand slam to win 6-5 over the Silver Hawks.

The come-from-behind victory played out like a classic sports miracle script straight out of Hollywood.

The Wolverines (21-7) rebounded with three regional playoff wins after earning the district runner-up with a 2-0 loss to Royal Palm Beach High School. That defeat seems barely a memory for the Wellington squad now.

“That was the turning point,” Wellington head coach Mark Boretti said. “Losing two-to-nothing when they felt they were the better team, and here we are. We’re going to the state final four. We just won a regional championship.”

Wellington seemed to control the game early. In the first three innings, the Wolverines got on the board first when Sabrina Gonzalez hit a one-out home run. In the bottom of the third, Cat Glenn’s single forced a two-out error that sent in Thea Whitty to lift Wellington up 2-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Wolverines looked as if they would extend that lead with runners on first and third with one out, but the Silver Hawks were able to force Wellington out of the inning without a score.

Lake Howell put up a three-spot in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead 3-2, and added two more runs in the top of the seventh. The first came when a Wellington high pitch ricocheted over the top of the catcher’s glove and hit the fence. The second Silver Hawk score came off an RBI single that gave them a 5-2 lead.

Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, it seemed as if Wellington needed a miracle just to get three runs to force the game into extra innings. The first Wolverine batter was walked to first. Lexi Butler was the first to put the ball in play with a line drive. Alexa Mobilia slid into second, beating the throw.

With one out, Glenn struck her second line drive that ripped by the shortstop and loaded up the bases. It appeared the miracle the Wolverines needed was becoming a possibility. Sarah Longley stepped to the plate.

On the second pitch, Longley backed off the plate just a bit and struck the ball with enough force that echoed across the field as it sailed over the left-field fence. The grand slam ignited cheers from the dugout and bleachers. The crowd erupted into celebration as they ran onto the field.

“What can you say?” Boretti said. “It’s unbelievable. All we said when we came in [to the seventh inning] was ‘never die,’ and right from the first batter they battled and never died.”

Longley was awaited by her team as she crossed the plate for the winning run. “She had been pitching to me inside the whole game, and I kept on getting jammed, and I just took one,” Longley said. “It’s just a great feeling.”

Wellington earned its first state tournament berth in six years. The Wolverines are slated to play Plant City in the state semifinals on Friday, May 19.


ABOVE: The Wolverines girls softball team members celebrate their come-from-behind regional win over Lake Howell High School.