It’s on to the state playoffs for the Key West High softball team, despite a 3-0 loss to Gulliver Prep in the District 16-5A tournament title game Wednesday on Gulliver’s field in Miami.
The 17-4-1 Conchs will play St. Brendan, winner of the 16-4A tournament, at 7 p.m. this coming Wednesday at St. Brendan in a regional quarterfinal game. St. Brendan is 11-11 and recently lost to Gulliver, 17-2.
“We outhit them [six to four] and outplayed them defensively,” Key West coach Jason Garcia said of the Gulliver game. .
Gulliver took a 1-0 lead in the third inning against freshman pitcher Chloe Hartle when a misplayed fly ball in left field led to a three-base error. That was followed by a run-scoring hit. The Raiders scored again in the fourth, aided by a walk and a passed ball.
The Conch, who split two games with Gulliver in the regular season, had the bases loaded in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t come through with the clutch hit.
“A pop-up and two strikeouts ended those threats,” Garcia said.
Hartle allowed two hits and struck out five. Gulliver got its third run in the sixth against senior Kendall Snow. Lily Barlow pitched the shutout for the Raiders. “She kept the ball down and did her job,” Garcia said.
Mackenzie Cohen and Nelly Branham each had two hits for Key SWest.
Key West reached the title game by defeating Keys Gate, 5-3, on Tuesday. If the Conchs can defeat St. Brendan, they could end up playing Gulliver a fourth time,