BOCA RATON – Afterward, with his team’s softball season over, West Boca coach Ron Hoyt lamented the first inning.
“Take that first inning out of there, it’s 0-0 going into the [seventh] inning,” he said.
Unfortunately for West Boca, it fell behind 4-0 in the first inning Monday to St. Thomas Aquinas on its way to a 7-0 loss in the Class 7A regional final. Starting pitcher Shaelyn Novy walked three of the first five batters she faced, and then surrendered back-to-back two-run singles.
She got the next batter to line out and end St. Thomas’ half of the first, but then gave up a single to lead off the second. Hoyt replaced Novy with fellow sophomore Brittany Urie, who pitched five scoreless innings before allowing three runs in the seventh, one of them unearned.
West Boca uncharacteristically committed four errors. Great defense has been a key to the team’s success all season, and it came up with some impressive plays again Monday. Shortstop Haley Gonzales, in particular, made a pair of great throws for put-outs.
West Boca finished the season 21-7, falling just short of its first trip to the state semifinals in six years and its third overall, but able to say it beat Coral Springs Charter and Grandview Prep.
Quite an accomplishment for a team whose ace and only established pitcher, Sydney Elkin, decided not to play this season. Novy and Urie aren’t hard-throwers, but backed up by a strong defense, they were able to baffle many batters and consistently produce outs this season.
“The chemistry was great,” Hoyt said of his team. “We had a successful year.”