Palmetto is hoping that the law of averages has tipped in its favor.
Sophomore Amanda Guglietta pitched a two-hit shutout to lead Palmetto to a 13-0, five-inning victory over host Coral Gables on Wednesday in a Class 8A regional quarterfinal.
Next up for Palmetto (17-6) is Tuesday’s regional semifinal game against defending state champion Coral Reef (19-8), which advanced by beating Ferguson 7-2.
From the start of last season to now, Palmetto has lost nine consecutive games to Coral Reef, including an 18-8 defeat in the 2013 regional semifinals.
“It’s the same scenario as last year,” Palmetto coach Emilio Exposito said. “The last time we played them was in [this year’s] district championship, and it was close. They won on a walk-off [hit].
“We’re looking to mix it up and bring home a W.”
Palmetto has a proud history in softball, winning state in 2008 and reaching the state final again in 2012.
Gables can attest to Palmetto’s skill. Palmetto has mastered Gables in the playoffs, winning all five times the teams have met in regionals, allowing a combined total of just one run.
On Tuesday, Gables (11-12) nearly got no-hit but Crystal Dingle broke up Guglietta’s bid with a line single to right with one out in the fourth inning.
“Yeah, I was [thinking about the no-hitter],” said Guglietta, who has yet to throw a no-no in her prep career. “I was upset when I lost it.”
Guglietta was more than just a pitching star. She went 2 for 3 with three RBI as Palmetto broke the game open with a six-run second inning, taking advantage of some Gables errors.
Palmetto also got two hits from Megan Greenwell and two hits and two RBI from Erin Love.
Hosting Ferguson in a Region 4-8A quarterfinal, the Barracudas used a strong pitching performance from Michelle Mesa and plenty of offense including a putaway two-run homer by Kylan Becker in the sixth inning to record a 7-2 victory.
And with that, the challenge will be a daunting one for Coral Reef as they will host Palmetto on Tuesday in a regional semifinal, marking the fifth time the two district rivals have met this year with CR having won all four. In fact, the Barracudas (19-8) have won nine in a row dating back to last season including last week’s 7-6 district final where they scored three runs in the last of the seventh after there were two outs.
Mesa gave up just three hits, struck out four and walked just one to record the complete game win while Sara Ortiz (2-for-3, two doubles, RBI) and Becker, two-for-three includng her two-run blast over the right field fence in the sixth supplied a good chunk of Reef’s nine-hit attack.
Leading 4-0 after three, Mesa saw her lead cut in half in the top of the fourth when Ferguson’s Sammie Oliva sent a towering two-run homer over the left-center field fence. But only one Falcon runner would reach base the rest of the game and that was from an error.
“We just know that we have to say focused every game because any game could be our last at this point,” said Becker. “We know our bats have to come through and our defense has to back up our pitcher and we got that done today.”
“It’s been a tough year playing with a target on our backs (from being defending state champions) and then suffering some really key injuries has taken its toll,” said Coral Reef coach Dario Rodriguez. “Now we have everybody back but look who we have to play again. It’s almost unfair to both teams and tough but it’s a big rivalry and we’re looking forward to it — again.”
FER 000 200 0 – 2 3 2
CR 103 102 x – 7 9 1
The host Raiders (22-6) received a complete game from senior pitcher Gabbee Draney while jumping out to an early lead with a three-run first inning and hitting around the order in a five-run fifth.
“We did what we should do — get out [in front] early,” said Gulliver coach Mark Schusterman, winner of more than 600 games in his coaching career. “First inning was very important. We set a tone.”
Both runs against Draney, a Florida Gulf Coast signee, were unearned and she struck out eight in her seven innings of work, allowing five hits and three walks. She also went 2 for 4 at the plate with a pair of RBI.
Sofia De Solo, Brianna Bahadue and Jessica Rivera each had three-hit games. Bahadue had three RBI, De Solo drove in two and Rivera scored three times.
FC 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 — 2 5 1
GUL 3 1 1 0 5 1 X —11 14 2
In a game delayed 90 minutes due to the late arrival of the umpires, West Broward ended the game in the fourth inning with no outs when Lauren Sakowitz and Alyssa Prinzo hit back-to-back inside-the-park home run to complete the rout.
Laiacona (10-3) finished with three strikeouts and two walks, both of which led to Miami Beach scoring two runs on the same play off two throwing errors.
The Bobcats (17-6) will face McArthur in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinals. Miami Beach ends its season at 13-7.
On offense, West Broward finished with 16 hits, seven going for extra bases. Lefthanded catcher Jamie Mandy went 2-for-3 with two doubles and five runs batted in, and Nicole Cahill went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Megan Obier and Elise Calzadilla also contributed with multiple-hit games.
MB 0 0 2 0 X X X — 2 0 4
WB 6 3 5 3 X X X— 17 15 3
“I was really nervous, but I just waited for my pitch and drove the ball,” said Morales.
Morales pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and two runs were scored by Goleman in the bottom of the first.
Mater Academy scored a run each in the second and third inning to trail 5-2 going into the fourth inning.
Before the grand slam, three runs were scored by Goleman in the fourth. Mater scored two runs in the fifth, but with the Lady Lions down by 11, the game was called.
The Gators (17-9) will face the winner of Miami Springs and Doral Academy next Tuesday in the Region 4-6A semifinal.
MA 0 1 1 0 2 X X — 4 7 0
BG 2 2 1 10 X X X — 15 12 1
Palmeiro gave up five hits while striking out six while Melody Grafals provided the big offensive punch for Doral. After Doral scored two unearned runs in the first inning, the game turned into a pitching duel between Palmeiro and Springs’ Geneva Santos. That was until the last of the fifth when, after Palmeiro and Sydney Lageyre led off with back-to-back base hits, Grafals stepped up and launched a towering drive over the left center field fence to make it 5-0 and all but end the issue.
“We’ve battled some injuries all season but everyone is getting healthy at the right time and our girls did a good job of coming out tonight and taking care of business,” said Doral head coach Walter Acevedo. “Hopefully we can keep this going.”
Doral (19-6) will take on Goleman, which defeated Mater Academy 15-4 in its contest, in a regional semifinal at Slade Park next Tuesday at 7 p.m. Miami Springs finished 15-6.
MS 000 000 0 – 0 5 3
DOR 200 040 x – 6 5 3