Posted: 4:28 pm Friday, April 13th, 2012

Breaking down next week’s softball district tournaments 

By Jeff Greer

Softball season zoomed by, and after Friday’s senior night games across the county, the focus will turn to the win-or-go-home district tournaments.

Let’s take a spin across the district tournaments, identify the players and teams to watch and show you the schedule. Several state-tournament contenders reside in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

In 8A, Palm Beach Gardens, the No. 1 team in the nation, is the heavy favorite to win the state title. Park Vista, Palm Beach Central, Jupiter and Seminole Ridge have shown glimpses of being competitive, but Vista and Jupiter are most likely to challenge Gardens. And look out for Wellington, an up-and-down team that could still make some noise.

In 7A, West Boca and Okeechobee both have good shots at Clermont. Down in 5A, Suncoast could get hot, but a progressively improving Jensen Beach stands in the Chargers’ way. Both St. Andrew’s and Lincoln Park are quality teams in 4A. Lincoln Park was one of the hottest teams in the state a few weeks ago.

American Heritage and King’s Academy wouldn’t see each other until Clermont, which makes an exciting possibility for an all-Palm Beach County semifinal in 3A. Grandview Prep, with Jane Sallen on the mound, is still a favorite to reach Clermont for the third consecutive season.

District 9-8A
At Palm Beach Gardens
Palm Beach Central (4) vs. Dwyer (5), 5 p.m.
Jupiter (2) vs. Wellington (3), 5 p.m.
Palm Beach Gardens (1) vs. Palm Beach Central/Dwyer winner, 7 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.

Favorite: Palm Beach Gardens
Contenders: Everyone else.
Players to watch: Gardens CF Ta’Coia Williams (.532, 8 HR, 29 RBI), 2B Tiffany Lower (.493, 4 HR, 28 RBI), SS Liz Spring (.420, 4 HR, 27 RBI), 1B Taylor Schwarz (.368, 5 HR, 26 RBI), P Shelby Turnier (21-0, 0.34 ERA); Jupiter CF Devin Williams (.460), P Kylee Hanson (11-4, 0.53 ERA); Wellington C Macey Cheatham (.422); Palm Beach Central C Alexis Pisa (.515); Dwyer P Mackenzie Huhn, SS Jordan English.

District 10-8A
At West Boynton Park
Spanish River (4) vs. John I. Leonard (5), 7 p.m.
Seminole Ridge (2) vs. Boca Raton (3), 4:30 p.m.
Park Vista (1) vs. Spanish River/John I. Leonard winner, 7 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.

Favorite: Park Vista
Contenders: Seminole Ridge, Boca Raton.
Players to watch: Park Vista OF Bailey McKenna (.423), 2B Alexandra Ortiz (.429, 4 HR, 18 RBI), 1B Makenzie Garcia; Seminole Ridge P Alana Tabel; Boca Raton IF Pepper Butler (.473); Spanish River Savannah Fruin (.571).

District 13-7A
At Santaluces
All games at 7 p.m.
Royal Palm Beach (2) vs. Forest Hill (3)
Santaluces (1) vs. Palm Beach Lakes (4)
Championship, 7 p.m.

Favorite: Santaluces.
Contender: Royal Palm Beach.
Player to watch: Santaluces P Lindsey Hall (10-9, 1.36 ERA).

District 14-7A
At West Boca Raton
Games start at 4:30 p.m.
Atlantic (2) vs. Lake Worth (3)
West Boca Raton (1) vs. Olympic Heights (4)
Championship, 6:30 p.m.

Favorite: West Boca Raton.
Contenders: Atlantic, Lake Worth.
Players to watch: West Boca Raton P Sydney Elkin (18-3, 1.05 ERA), 2B Valerie Carlson (.471), 1B Marina Costa (.435); Lake Worth Jeannie Strait (.447).

District 15-5A
Boynton Beach (4) at Suncoast (1), 6 p.m.
Fort Pierce Westwood (3) at Jensen Beach (2), 6 p.m.
Championship game, at Jensen Beach, 7 p.m.

Favorite: Suncoast.
Contender: Jensen Beach.
Players to watch: Suncoast P Amber Braun (.636 — best among large schools), Brianne Lint (.367).

District 12-4A
All games at St. Andrew’s
St. Andrew’s (2) vs. Cardinal Newman (3), 2:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park (1) vs. Glades Central (4), 4:30 p.m.
Championship, 4 p.m.

Favorite: Lincoln Park.
Contender: St. Andrew’s
Players to watch: St. Andrew’s Caitlin Grecz (.692 — best among small schools).

District 12-3A
Jupiter Christian (5) at Benjamin (4), 4 p.m.
Tuesday at King’s Academy
Glades Day (2) vs. Berean Christian (3), 2 p.m.
King’s Academy (1) vs. Benjamin/JCS winner, 4 p.m.
Thursday at King’s Academy
Championship, 4 p.m.

Favorite: King’s Academy.
Contenders: Everyone else.
Players to watch: King’s Academy P Aubree Murphy (16-3, 1.20 ERA), Kristen Wright (.527), Becky Gaidosh (.526), Becca Gomez (.507); Glades Day C Brianna Lohmann (.507, 2 HR, 25 RBI); Berean Christian P Amber Johnson (.600); Benjamin C Arden Pettit (.673, 16 RBI).

District 13-3A
At American Heritage
Pope John Paul II (2) vs. Trinity Christian (3), 7
American Heritage (1) vs. Pope John Paul II/Trinity Christian winner, 7

Favorite: American Heritage.
Contenders: Pope John Paul II.
Players to watch: American Heritage P Corrie Boggess (.484, 5 HR, 28 RBI; 7-3, 1.43 ERA), 3B Jessie Mohl (.425); Pope John Paul II Calli Norton (.636, 4 HR, 35 RBI; 6-2, 1.03 ERA).

District 11-2A
At Seminole Palms Park
Vero Beach-Master’s Academy at Wellington Christian, 4 p.m.

Favorite: Wellington Christian.
Players to watch: Wellington Christian Tiffany Pettet (.500), Cali Gumpel (.478, 23 RBI).

District 12-2A
At Lake Worth Christian
Lake Worth Christian (2) vs. Boca Christian (3), 4 p.m.
Grandview Prep (1) vs. Lake Worth Christian/Boca Christian winner, 4 p.m.

Favorite: Grandview Prep.
Contenders: Everyone else.
Players to watch: Grandview P Jane Sallen (8-2, 1.22 ERA); Lake Worth Christian Mackenzie Morrell (.561, 2 HR, 17 RBI); Boca Christian Rachel Taylo (.500).