Posted: 4:53 pm Monday, April 8th, 2013

Softball: Palm Beach Gardens wins top seed in District 9-8A via coin toss 

By Jeff Greer

With all the FHSAA-instituted tiebreakers exhausted, the District 9-8A softball tournament’s top seed had to be decided by a coin toss.

Palm Beach Gardens, deadlocked with archrival Jupiter in each of the five tiebreakers, got the No. 1 seed in the state’s most challenging district. The Gators will play the winner of Wellington and Dwyer in the semifinals of the 9-8A tournament, which will be played at Jupiter High next week.

“Got to play now,” Gardens coach Randy Jackson said, downplaying the fortuitous coin-toss results.

Why was the coin toss such a big deal? Jupiter now must play third-seeded Palm Beach Central in the other semifinal, a single-elimination game that will end the season for one of the top Class 8A teams in Florida. Both schools are ranked in the Miracle Sports statewide softball poll for 8A, and the top three teams in 9-8A are the top three teams in this week’s Post’s Top 10.

Central split its home-and-home series with both Gardens and Jupiter this spring, and all three teams finished 6-2 in the district. But the state’s third tiebreaker in the event of a three-way tie is district road wins. Because Jupiter and Gardens beat each other on the road, they both have three district road wins against Central’s two.

Gardens beat Dwyer twice this spring by a combined score of 18-4. The Gators beat Wellington 20-3 and 15-2 in their two matchups. Jupiter topped Central 3-1 in the first meeting between the teams. Central returned the favor with a 5-1 win in Wellington.