Palm Beach Gardens Edge Wildcats In Extra-Innings Thriller
Royal Palm (2-1) entered tonight’s game with a perfect record following offensive outbursts of 17-2 and 22-0 in their previous games. Palm Beach Gardens (3-2) came in on the heels of two losses after starting the season in much the same way as the Wildcats.
Neither team has been a stranger to early-season offensive might, but this was not the case on Tuesday night.
A combined four runs were scored in the first three innings, but what followed was a long defensive standoff – one that would end with the Gators getting back to its winning ways in dramatic, extra-inning fashion.
Quinten Romo started the scoring early for the visiting Wildcats, singling home Christian Adams.
The Gators answered swiftly to the tune of Chris Satcher’s sacrifice fly bringing home Dominic Presto.
The second inning sandwiched another trade-off of runs in the third.
Ryan Marerro walked in a run for Royal Palm before Satcher notched his second RBI of the night – again scoring Presto – tying the game in the bottom of the inning. Satcher, Presto, and Zach MacFarquar all had multiple-hit games for the Gators – the last of whom would provide the game-winner after hours of a pitching stalemate.
“Starting pitcher Andrew Crumbley did a nice job with five solid innings,” Garden Manager Joe Russo said. “And Cade Bush was solid in relief. I think he threw fifty pitches and really beared down when he needed to. And of course, you had our seniors. Zach MacFarquar [came] through with a clutch hit at the end to finish it.”
MacFarquar’s walk-off hit came with two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning after Bush and Satcher managed to get on with none out. By that point, the air had become cold enough for the game’s announcer to jokingly suggest the contest had been moved to Colorado for the extra innings.
That certainly didn’t stop MacFarquar’s teammates from rushing the field after his walk-off wonder.
“It was awesome,” MacFarquar said. “Definitely an experience I’ll remember. It hurt a little bit, but it’s worth it,” he finished, claiming that Cade had thrown water into his face during the celebration. The relief pitcher, who was credited with the win, didn’t stop smiling as the teammates rejoiced in their hard-fought victory.
Of course, it certainly wasn’t all frowns on the other side of the field either. It was a heartbreaking loss, and the emotions ran high all around, but Royal Palm Manager Thomas Coates had much to say about his team’s dedication.
“What I told them [in the dugout] is that they played hard,” Coates said. “And they played until the end. I don’t even think they realized we were in the seven, eight, nine innings, past time. And I praise them for that and their effort.”
He spoke especially highly of the teams’ pitching and defense. While the Gators’ pitchers struck out 12 batters, Royal Palm still managed six strikeouts with a depleted roster. The team has battled injuries, and the dugout comparison between the teams was striking – with the Wildcats carrying barely more than a third of the Gators’ team number.
“The kids pitched well tonight, Coates continued. “They really did. There are two things I would take from the game tonight: the pitching and the effort from beginning to end. I was very impressed and happy with that effort.”
Royal Palm left tonight’s game armed with positives to build on. The Gators, meanwhile, added a dramatic “W” against a worthy opponent, and they’ll look to build on that momentum in preparation for their next home game, when they play host to John I. Leonard on Friday.