The Key West Conchs have a district champion baseball team, and they’re not done yet.

Patience was a virtue in Key West’s 3-1 win over Miami Killian on May 2. The game would be a defensive battle for both teams with a pitchers’ duel that went scoreless until the fourth inning. Key West’s three-run flurry would be the only scoring the Conchs would do in the matchup, but it was more than enough for the win. Killian managed a single run in the matchup, and had two runners on base in the seventh inning with just one out, but the Conchs held their ground and took the win, placing them in the district championship game on May 4. Key West managed seven hits from seven batters, including Jack Haggard, Matt Greenberg, Gabe Williams, Anthony Lariz, Anden Rady, Jose Perdigon and Sam Holland. Andris Barroso was credited with the win, lasting six innings on the mound, while Jacob Burnham pitched the last inning for the victory.

The win against Killian sent Key West to the district championship game on May 4 against Miami Sunset. This time, the Conchs struck fast and kept striking until they ended the game in a four-and-a-half-inning mercy-rule win, destroying the Knights 13-0. The Conchs piled on a dozen hits in the game, with Lariz leading the stats with three. Haggard, Perdigon and Rady each had a pair of hits, with one of Rady’s clearing the fence in the third inning. Greenberg, Holland and Noah Burnham each added one in the championship win. Felix Ong went the distance, striking out six over five innings and allowing just one hit, one walk and zero runs. The Conchs took on the Somerset Academy Panthers of Pembroke Pines on May 9 in the regional quarterfinals, winning 8-5, and will now move on to the semifinal on Friday, May 12 against Miami Springs.

Coral Shores Tops Marathon, Falls to Keys Gate in District Heartbreaker

A punishing first inning would be too much for Marathon to overcome in the FHSAA 3A District 16 semifinal game against Coral Shores on May 2. The ’Canes met the Fins in Dolphin territory, and despite several starters out of the lineup due to injuries, Coral Shores was able to beat its closest rivals 10-0 in five innings to move on to the district championship game. 

Coral Shores struck quickly, pounding Marathon with six hits and scoring seven runs in the first inning. In total, the Hurricanes were good for a dozen hits, with three from AJ Putetti, two each from Campbell Lavoie, Donovan Thiery, Dylan Bloom and Andy Ladesma and one from Maykol Bonito. Thiery pitched five innings, allowing four hits and striking out six. 

For Marathon, Bryan Broche, Jack Chapman and Mason Thornton had singles and Gavin Leal hit a double, but Coral Shores was able to protect the plate, shutting out the Fins. Dylan Ziels started on the mound and Broche completed the final two innings in the loss. Marathon ends its season with a solid 17-9 record. The team will lose three seniors to graduation but stands to add a talented group from Marathon’s middle school program to the varsity roster.

In the win over Marathon, Coral Shores earned a shot at the district championship against Keys Gate on May 3. Dylan Bloom started on the mound for the ’Canes, going five innings, with Tate Brumbalow picking up the rest. Both teams scored one in the first inning and the tie held until the fifth. Coral Shores found a bit of the magic they unleashed on the Fins the night prior, scoring three runs and adding two more in the sixth.

Keys Gate answered back in the sixth inning with five runs of their own, tying the game up once again. Heartbreak came in the final inning for Coral Shores when a walk-off Keys Gate single gave the ’Canes the runner-up trophy and an end to their season. Putetti and Zeke Myers each had two hits on the night and Ledesma, Ian Anderson, Grayden Ross and Hugh Connolly also made it to base on hits for Coral Shores. The Hurricanes finished their season with an 8-13 record, losing several close games to opponents in the much larger 7A division.

Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.