Wellington Girls Softball Team Continues Pursuit Of State Title

Wellington High School catcher Kaylee Riles in action.

Wellington High School’s varsity girls softball team is inching closer to securing a spot in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) Class 7A state final four. Under the guidance of head coach Mark Boretti, the Wolverines had a brilliant regular season, posting an impressive 15-2-1 record.

In postseason play, Wellington has won several straight games. After winning the Class 7A, District 12 tournament by defeating rival Jupiter High School, 6-5, on Friday, May 5, Wellington was awarded the No. 1 seed in Region 3 of the FHSAA’s Class 7A state tournament.

On May 11, Wellington’s first-round opponent in the quarterfinals was crosstown rival Palm Beach Central High School, which earned an at-large bid in the Class 7A tournament.

It was the third time that Wellington had played the Broncos this season. And for the third straight time, Wellington won, defeating Palm Beach Central, 11-1. That quarterfinal win propelled the Wolverines to the Region 3 semifinals on Tuesday, May 16, where Wellington hosted Centennial High School from Port St. Lucie, the No. 4 seed in the Region 3 bracket.

In that statewide Class 7A “Sweet 16” game, Wellington scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth and held on to win, 2-0. Sophomore Erryn Lowe accounted for Wellington’s two runs by slugging a home run in the fourth inning.

Wellington senior co-captain Jordan White pitched the first three innings. She issued two walks, one hit and struck out three. Victoria Payne pitched the final four innings, allowing two walks and one hit while striking out five. Payne picked up the win.

The May 16 victory set up a rematch with Jupiter, the No. 2 seed in the Region 3 bracket, on Friday, May 19 at Wellington High School. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. It will be the third time this season that both teams will face one another. In both previous games, Wellington won by the same 6-5 score. The winner of the Region 3 final will advance to the FHSAA’s Class 7A final four in Clermont on May 26-27.

Two of the keys to victory for Wellington will be how the team’s two top pitchers — White and Payne — perform inside the circle. White’s earned run average (ERA) is a sparkling 1.79, while Payne’s ERA is an impressive 1.88.

“Jordan has had great command of her pitches this season and has been able to spot the ball well. She has four pitches that she can throw,” Boretti said. “Victoria has good velocity on her pitches. We like to start with Jordan and have Victoria finish the game.”

With a victory against Jupiter, it will be Wellington’s third trip to the FHSAA softball final four in school history.

In 2011, WHS lost in the state semifinals. In 2017, WHS lost in the state championship game, 6-1, to Oakleaf High School from Orange Park.