One of the best seasons in Key West High softball history ended in disappointment Tuesday when the Conchs lost to Gulliver Prep, 9-0, in the regional semifinals of the state playoffs.
“We picked the wrong time to have our worse game of the year,” said Jason Garcia, who completed his first season as head coach with an 18-5 record.
The five losses were the fewest in program history and it was only the third time that the Conchs reached the semifinals. “That makes me feel really good,” Garcia said.
It was the third time in four games this season that the Conchs lost to the Raiders, with all the defeats occurring on Gulliver’s field. The Conchs made five errors, all on the infield, that led to six unearned runs.
Gulliver, despite only six hits, scored in every inning except the second. Four runs scored when senior pitcher Kendall Snow was in the circle, and five crossed the plate against freshman reliever Chloe Hartle.
Trailing 3-0 early in the game, the Conchs had the bases loaded with no outs, but the middle of the batting order couldn’t get the ball out of the infield. Innings later, the Conchs had the bases loaded with one out, but again couldn’t score.
Key West had five hits against Gulliver pitcher Lily Barlow — two by Mackenzie Cohen and one each by Angela Niles, Lauren Klitenick and Jade Vaughn. Klitenick’s double was the only extra-base hit.
Of his first season, Garcia said, “I expected a good team, but not this good.”
The Conchs will lose four seniors: Snow, Cohen, Niles and catcher Raylyn Faatuai.
“We’ll have three good pitchers and two good infielders coming up from the city youth league,” Garcia said.