Wildcats Defeat WHS 2-0 To Claim District Softball Title

The 2017 District champion Royal Palm Beach Wildcats.


On Wednesday, April 26, the Royal Palm Beach High School softball team traveled to host Wellington High School for the District 12-8A championship and held on to win the crown 2-0 over the top-seeded Wolverines.

The Wildcats entered the contest as the second seed. This was third match-up between the nearby rivals, with Wellington winning the last two. Both teams felt the pressure. Wellington was the favorite to win, after going to 2-0 against the Wildcats earlier in the season, and Royal Palm Beach was not willing to settle for a winless series against the Wolverines.

Behind the pitching of Stetson commit Jaime Tino, who totaled 10 strikeouts on the night, Royal Palm Beach (19-6) also was able to put the ball in play when it needed to in its mission to avenge last year’s district title loss to the Wolverines.

The game was scoreless until the fourth inning. Tino delivered the first blow to the Wolverines in the top of the fourth inning when she sent a ball deep into left field for a double. Wellington attempted to make the play at third when Royal Palm Beach’s Phoenix Stricker hit a single, but Tino slid safely into third.

Royal Palm Beach continued to threaten when Stricker then stole second base with no outs. Susannah Classen hit an RBI double to lift the Wildcats into the lead 1-0. Royal Palm Beach continued its success at the plate, making contact with the ball to load the bases, but Wellington (18-6) finally locked it up on defense behind pitcher Katie Schmidt, who struck out the last two batters.

The sixth inning was when the Wildcats were able to extend their lead. With the bases loaded, Paige Houck hit a grounder into left field for an RBI single to give Royal Palm Beach a 2-0 lead with two outs. Schmidt struck out the last Wildcat batter.

Sarah Longley tried to spark the Wellington dugout by earning a double, striking the ball deep down into left field. Bailey Cain hit a single to put runners on first and third for the Wolverines, but they were unable to weather the storm that came in from the Royal Palm Beach mound. Tino continued to strike out Wellington batters to close out the inning.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know how many strikeouts I had,” Tino said. “I was working in the moment. You can’t look at how many strikeouts you have; you just can’t let anybody cross home.”

Royal Palm Beach did just enough on defense to keep Wellington from crossing the plate, and the Wolverines had difficulty capitalizing when they had runners in position to score. Once the final Wellington batter was thrown out at first, Royal Palm Beach cleared the dugout in celebration.

“It feels amazing. Third time’s a charm,” Royal Palm Beach head coach Dave Hir said. “I kept telling the girls we’re going to get another opportunity, and that’s the one that one that really matters, the district championship on their field.”

Both teams advanced to the regional playoffs and could face each other again in the regional semifinal game.

“That’s our goal. Let’s go to where we have to go,” Wellington head coach Mark Boretti said. “We have to put the ball in play, and when we have runners in position, we can’t go strike two, strike three.”

Royal Palm Beach hosted George Jenkins High School, and Wellington traveled to Bartow High School in the first round of regional play, but results were not available by press time.

ABOVE: Members of the Royal Palm Beach Wildcats girls softball team celebrate their district title win.