Westminster Academy made the trip to Key West to take on the Conchs at Rex Weech Field in a pair of games Feb. 24 and 25. Jacob Burnham got the start on the mound on the 24th, fanning 5 in 4 innings. Andris Barroso closed out the final 3 for the win. Jack Haggard and Wyatt Kuhn had the hot bats for the Conchs with 2 hits each. Jose Perdigon, Noah Burnham, Anthony Lariz, Michael Greenberg and Caden Pichardo registered 1 hit each to make 9 for the Conchs. The game was tied up until the fifth inning, during which Key West took advantage of several Westminster mistakes. A 9-run rally ensued, securing the 12-5 win for Key West.

Saturday night was more of the same for the Conchs. Felix Ong went 5 innings on the mound, striking out 9. Marlin Takovich finished the job for Key West, fanning 3 to end the 10-0 shutout. The Conchs collected 10 hits, led by Haggard, who went 3-4 at the plate, driving in 5 runs with a triple and 2 singles. Perdigon was 3-3 with a double and a pair of singles. JD Dowling, Lariz, Greenberg and Pichardo each added a hit to their stats in the game.

Marathon played Ransom Everglades at home on Feb. 24, winning 12-7. Gavin Leal led the team with a pair of hits and 3 RBIs for the Fins. Gabe Leal, Aidan Gonzalez, Micah Sauders and Ryan Yablon each added a hit. Dylan Ziels started on the mound for Marathon, striking out 13 over 5 innings. Ryan Yablon closed out the final 2, sealing the win for Marathon. 

In Upper Keys action, Coral Shores dropped a close 4-2 contest against ABF Academy on Feb. 21 before traveling to Miami to play the 7A Buccaneers of South Dade High School on Feb. 23.  Steel Mientkiewicz had a double, while Andrew Putetti and Campbell Lavoie had singles for the ’Canes in a 13-1 loss.

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.