Senior Emily Rodriguez, thrown out at the plate in what could have been a crucial play earlier in the game, came back to start the winning rally in extra innings as Palmetto eliminated Southwest 6-4 Thursday in the Region 4-8A quarterfinal at Palmetto Bay Park.
“I’m not that fast — I’m a catcher,” a smiling Rodriguez said of the play at home, which left the score tied 4-4 in the sixth inning.
“But when I got thrown out, I was ready to cry. This could have been my last game. For me to be the reason we lost, that would’ve killed me.”
Instead, Palmetto (17-9) took advantage of a pair of errors by Southwest (19-7) to win the game with two runs in the top of the eighth.
Palmetto overcame a monster game by Southwest shortstop/cleanup hitter Alex Castellanos, who hit two home runs and had three RBI to propel the Eagles to a 4-2 lead after three innings.
One of her homers went over the scoreboard in right field, and the even bigger blast cleared the 200-foot center-field fence by about 50 feet, sailing over the batting cages.
Still, this was the fifth time since 2005 that Palmetto has ended Southwest’s season. Southwest eliminated Palmetto just once during that span.
With Thursday’s win, Palmetto advances to play Tuesday at 4 p.m. in a regional semifinal against Coral Reef, which is 4-0 against the Panthers this season.
“[Coral Reef is] really good,” said Rodriguez, a four-year starter who led Palmetto to last year’s state final. “But it doesn’t matter if we are 0-4 or 0-20 — I think we can beat them.”
• Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Mater Academy 11, Archbishop McArthy 10: After their baseball team won its first district title in school history earlier in the day, the Mater Academy Lions softball team had a little drama saved up of their own.
After giving up eight runs in the top of the first to heavily favored Archbishop McCarthy, Mater (16-7) put on a remarkable comeback to pull out a victory at Bucky Dent Park in Hialeah. The Lions will have an even taller mountain to climb on April 30 when they host defending state champion Pembroke Pines Charter at 7 p.m. at Bucky Dent Park in a regional semifinal contest.
“I have some amazing teammates because I was really down when I came into the dugout after that first inning,” said sophomore pitcher Alexis Castroman. “To come back from a start like that shows you the amazing determination and heart of our team.”
Mater immediately answered the Mavericks eight run first with six runs of their own in the bottom half before tying it with two more in the second on a two run homer by Ibis Abreu. The game was tied at 10 in the fifth when Michelle Oliva scored from third on a deep fielders choice deep groundout to shortstop by Abreu.
McCarthy (16-8) was led by Kaitlyn Ortagus who homered twice including a grand slam shot in the eight run first.
WP: A. Castroman (6-2) LP: J. DePalo Top performers: A. Guzman 3-4, I. Abreu 2-4, HR, 3 RBI.
• Region 4-6A quarterfinal – Pines Charter 16, Westland Hialeah 0: Pembroke Pines Charter (18-3) scored eight runs in the first and second innings as the Jaguars defeated visiting Westland Hialeah in three innings.
Pines Charter, the defending state champion in 6A, will face Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy in the regional semifinal.
The Jaguars took advantage of Westland Hialeah (8-9) pitcher Elizabeth Stokes struggles pitching in the circle and the Wildcats subpar defense.
Bridget Blount went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and Courtney Dart went 2 for 2 at the plate for the Jaguars.
In the circle, Jaguars pitcher Claire Blount surrendered no hits and struck out three Wildcats in the win.
WP: C.Blount (14-3). LP: Stokes (5-8). Top performers: B. Blount 2-3, 2 singles, 2 R, 3 RBI. Dart 2-2, 2 singles, 2 R, SB. C. Blount 1-1, single, 3 RBI, 2 IP, 3 K, 0 H.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Coral Springs Charter 15, Archbishop Carroll 0: Starter Heather Bramos (13-4) and Paige Fairchild combined to hold the Bulldogs hitless while five Panthers batters had multiple-hit games in Coral Springs Charter’s win.
Kayla Scaperrotta, Angie Gutierrez, Bramos, Brianna Stella, and Fairchild each had two hits. Gutierrez had a two-run single to spark an 11-run first inning.
WP: Bramos (13-4). LP: Cinalli.
REGION 4-4A QUARTERFINAL — PACE 3, NORTH BROWARD PREP 0
WP: Briana Heredia CG, 5 K. LP: A. Vanltemel. Top performers: Lauren Hofmann 1-3, run. Natalie Leon 1-3, double, run. Sofia Dominguez 2-3, double, HR, 3 RBI, run. MP 15-12
• District 15-2A final — Brito 3, Westwood Christian 1: Brito came into the game and controlled the tempo both at bat and on the field to dominate the district final.
It was scoreless going into the third inning until JC Millan hit a single which led to two RBI.
Runs came from Edbirg Dominguez, Henry Blanco and Louis Campanioni.
COREY W. CAMPBELL
WP: Angel Cortez. Top performers: JC Millan 2 RBI. E. Dominguez 2-3, RBI, run.
• Team Florida will be holding tryouts for its 17-and under summer team that will play in three tournaments in Florida, travel to the High School World Series in Ohio and participate in three college stops to showcase there talent. For more information, contact Dave Westberry at 786-258-6184.
• A few more of Miami-Dade County’s best boys’ basketball players were named to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches’ this week.
Norland junior guard Zach Johnson earned Class 6A first team honors after leading the Vikings to a state championship. In Class 8A, Coral Reef senior guard Cedric Hankerson was also a first-team selection.
South Miami center Antravious Simmons earned second team honors for Class 8A, while teammate Jorge Perez-Laham made third team. Simmons and Perez-Laham led the Cobras to a state runner-up finish. Hialeah Gardens guard Adrian Gonzalez also made third team in Class 8A.
DISTRICT 16-8A FINAL – KILLIAN 5, SOUTH DADE 1
WP: Mike Perez (4-0). LP: Manoah. Top performers: E. Molina double, 2 RBI. S. Levine 2-4. M. Perez 3 2/3 IP, 7K. KIL 19-8-1.
LATE WEDNESDAY — DISTRICT 16-4A SEMIFINAL — GULLIVER 6, KEY WEST 4
WP: Lucas de la Cruz 4IP, 7K. LP: Darren Miller. Top performer: Joe Dunand 2-4, 2 RBI.
• Hialeah Miami Lakes d. Westland 25-17, 27-25, 23-25, 25-22: Gus Pena 16 kills, 27 digs. Manny Celestino 14 kills, 9 digs, 4 blocks. Allison Vasquez 36 assists, 8 digs. HML 13-5.
• Late Wednesday — Braddock d. Florida Christian 25-15, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22: Idalberto Delgado 17 kills, 19 digs. Angel Jover 21 assists, 12 digs. Ricky Farinas 10 kills, 14 digs.
District 14-8A final at Flamingo Park: Coral Gables vs. Goleman, 7
District 15-8A final at Columbus: Sunset vs. Southwest, 6:30
District 16-2A final: Redland Christian at Colonial Christian, 4
TRACK AND FIELD
Class 1A state meet at University of North Florida
BOYS’ WATER POLO
State tournament at Ransom Everglades - Quarterfinals: Belen vs. Orlando Dr. Phillips, 4:30; St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Gulliver, 7:30
GIRLS’ WATER POLO
State tournament at Ransom Everglades - Quarterfinals: Ransom Everglades vs. Orlando Dr. Phillips, 10:30 a.m.; Gulliver vs. Riviera Beach Suncoast, 1:30
Second round state play-in: St. Thomas Aquinas at Columbus, 3