By Mike May
The Royal Palm Beach High School girls softball team were perfect on the season until they faced rivals Wellington High School on Tuesday, March 10. Wellington senior pitcher Kate DeSimone gave up five hits and just one run as the visiting Wolverines used a nine-run sixth inning to deliver a decisive knockout punch against the previously undefeated Wildcats (9-1). Wellington (8-2) prevailed 10-1 in the contest.
“Royal Palm Beach battled us tonight,” Wellington softball coach Mark Boretti said. “It’s always a big rivalry between the two schools. Katie DeSimone was terrific on the mound.”
The final score was not a reflection of how close the game actually was. For the first four innings, both Wellington’s DeSimone and Royal Palm Beach starting pitcher Kayla Bruno were the most dominant players in the game.
Royal Palm Beach almost scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first, but the Wildcats’ Adrianna Hammings was tagged out in a rundown between third base and home plate.
The Wildcats had a base hit in each of the first four innings, but Wellington’s defense stayed strong and didn’t allow them to cross home plate. Early on, Wellington’s hitters struggled against Bruno.
Wellington broke open the 0-0 deadlock in the top of the fifth inning when Wellington’s Alexis Mobilia drilled a base hit to center field to score teammate Cat Glenn from second base. Glenn had reached base on a fielder’s choice and had advanced to second on a stolen base.
After Royal Palm Beach was held scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, the Wolverines exploded for nine runs in the sixth to secure the victory.
In its half of the sixth inning, Wellington had five base hits and drew three walks, while Royal Palm Beach used three pitchers and committed two errors. The big hit for Wellington was a one-out, two-run single by Gabby Mack, which put Wellington ahead 4-0.
Later in the inning, Wellington’s Julie Scivington had an RBI with a bases-loaded walk, while both Paige Rodriguez and Kaitlyn Campbell delivered two-run singles to make it a runaway victory. Both Paige Rodriquez and Alison Rodriguez scored two runs each in the top of the sixth.
Royal Palm Beach scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth when Paige Houck stroked a single to right field to score Kiki Mainolfi from third. Mainolfi had opened the inning with a walk.
Wellington’s DeSimone retired the host Wildcats in order in the seventh inning to close out the game.
“Everything was working tonight — the curve ball, screw ball, rise ball and changeup,” said DeSimone, who recorded eight strikeouts. “I actually felt stronger at the end of the game than at the beginning. I was in the groove.”
Royal Palm Beach’s top hitter was Arianna Riviera, who collected two singles and had a stolen base in the game.
The two teams will meet again this season at Wellington High School on Monday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m.