With a 3-for-4 performance at the plate and two stolen bases, junior Scarlet Niles sparked Key West’s offensive onslaught in their regional quarterfinal matchup. ELLA HALL/Keys Weekly

The Lady Conchs softball team came out of the gate ready to play on May 10, scoring two runs in the first inning of their regional quarterfinal game against Riviera Beach Suncoast. The Chargers were not just going to roll over, though, as they chipped away at the lead, tying it up in the third. Key West was determined to secure its chance to advance in the playoff bracket and poured on seven runs in the fourth inning to pull ahead. Solid defense, plus three more runs in the sixth inning, gave the Conchs a 10-run advantage and the opportunity to retire an inning early in a mercy-rule win. 

Scarlet Niles led the team offensively, going 3-4 and stealing a pair of bases. Madelyn Perusse and Isabella Franco each had two hits and two RBIs. The remainder of the dozen Conch hits came off the bats of Dharma Murray, Alexandra Rodriguez, Skye Sterling, Tavyn Gage and Ty Cervanrtes. 

Defensively, Key West was error-free, effectively shutting down the Chargers after the second inning. Chloe Gilday took the win in the circle, striking out five batters while pitching 5-2/3 innings. Nevaeh Arnold came into the game with two outs and the bases loaded, ending the game in a single pitch with an out at first base and a final score of 12-2.

Key West is currently ranked No. 2 in its region and faced Somerset Academy Pembroke Pines in a regional semifinal game on May 16. It would take extra innings to finish the nail biter, as the Conchs secured a 7-6 win courtesy of a walkoff hit by Isabella Franco. With results available shortly before press time, stay tuned to the May 25 edition of the Keys Weekly for full coverage. The Conchs will now travel to American Heritage High School on Friday, May 19 with a regional crown on the line at 7 p.m.

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.