a series of photos of a girl in baseball uniforms

Marathon’s softball team faced a familiar foe in the FHSAA 1A District 16 quarterfinals on April 29. They played Mater Academy Bay, a team they handled easily just over a week prior. This time, the Rays gave the Fins a bit more of a challenge. It came down to the wire, but in the end, the Lady Fins prevailed, winning 7-6 and staying alive in the hunt for a district championship. Senior pitcher Allison Garcia struck out six batters, walked two and gave up six hits over seven innings. Offensively, freshman Maeve Merryman drove in two runs off a pair of base hits while  junior Shynell McGuire singled and tripled for the Fins. Junior Elena Eubank doubled and added a pair of stolen bases to her stats. Freshmen Sara Robinson and Madelyn Thornton added one hit each, with Robinson earning extra bases with a triple. Garcia smacked a solid double to make it eight hits for Marathon. 

The quarterfinal win placed Marathon in a game against top-seeded Miami Christian in a muddy semifinal matchup. The Fins failed to register a hit against Miami Christian. Garcia was choosy at the plate, walking in a run for Marathon. Merryman scored the Fins’ other run, taking advantage of a passed ball. The woes for Marathon did not end with sloppy field conditions or silent bats; their starting pitcher had to retire to the bench midway through inning two with shoulder soreness. Robinson took over in the circle, but by then, Miami Christian had already done enough damage to earn a 17-2 mercy-rule win. The Fins’ 12-5 record was strong enough to keep them alive in the playoffs. Marathon earned an at-large spot in the regional quarterfinals. That game was to be a rematch against Miami Christian on the road May 8 at 7 p.m. (Results not available at press time.)

Key West skipped the quarterfinals and the semifinals, heading straight to the FHSAA 4A District 16 championship game to defend its title last week. The reigning champs traveled to St. Brendan School on May 2 to face the Sabres in a game that would crown one team district champions and potentially knock the other out of contention. Key West wasted no time registering its first of 10 hits, when Scarlet Niles doubled on a hard ground ball in the first at-bat of the game. Though Key West hoped that would set the tone, their bats would go dormant until inning three and neither team got on the board until the fourth, when St. Brendan registered seven of their 10 hits, scoring 6 runs. The disastrous half-inning woke the Conchs’ bats up, and Key West answered with three consecutive hits, scoring one run and peppering the bases for Niles, the Lady Conchs’ top hitter with 6 home runs under her belt this season. 

The Sabres prudently called for the intentional walk on Niles, then managed to dig their way out of what could have been a disastrous half-inning of their own. The Sabres held on to win the game and the district title in an 8-3 victory. In addition to Niles’ hit, Alexandra Rodriguez, Alexa Condella and Nevaeh Arnold each added a pair while Tavyn Gage, Shylo Sanchez and Nina Manresa had one each. Senior Chloe Gilday started at pitcher, striking out 5 batters and giving up 6 hits over 3-1/3 innings. Freshman Breanna Breener closed it out for Key West in what could have been the end of the season. But don’t count the Conchs out yet. Despite a 6-14 record, their strength of schedule earned them an at-large bid to regionals, keeping Key West in the hunt for a state title. The Lady Conchs had a shot at redemption on May 8, when they headed back to St. Brendan to face the Sabres in a must-win rematch in the FHSAA 4A regional quarterfinals. (Results not available at press time.)

Tracy McDonald
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.