Coral Reef High School's softball team emerged victorious against longtime rival Palmetto High School on Thursday afternoon, clinching their second Greater Miami Athletic Conference (GMAC) title within the past three years. The win was due in no small part to the outstanding performance of two Coral Reef freshmen starting pitchers, Erin Zambrano and Quinley Wiley.
Zambrano and Wiley made significant contributions during the game, demonstrating an impressive level of skill for underclassmen players. Their efforts were crucial in helping the Barracudas secure a notable victory over their rivals.
The key underclassmen group also played a vital role in setting up an early lead for Coral Reef as they took a commanding 4-0 advantage after just one inning. This early momentum proved invaluable as it set the stage for more experienced players to take charge and maintain control throughout the match.
Juniors Brianna Perantoni and Aubrey Alonso each went 2 for 4 at bat while Rachel Hawkins contributed with a solid 1 for 2 performance. These upperclassmen stepped up when it mattered most, allowing Coral Reef to hold onto its lead until the final whistle blew.
Coach Susan Gardner expressed her pride in both her veteran players and newcomers: "Our young talent has developed remarkably quickly this season, but it wouldn't have been possible without our older girls providing guidance on and off the field."
Gardner continued by praising Zambrano and Wiley specifically: "Erin [Zambrano] has shown incredible growth since joining our team – she can throw consistently hard strikes that keep opposing hitters guessing. And Quinley [Wiley]? She's got nerves of steel! Both girls have been essential components of our success this year."
Palmetto High's coach Lisa McDaniel remained gracious in defeat, recognizing the skill and strategy of their opponents. "Coral Reef played a fantastic game today," McDaniel said. "Their underclassmen came through with big moments, and their experienced players provided stability when needed."
As Coral Reef celebrates its second GMAC title in three years, the team looks forward to continuing its winning ways throughout the coming season. With a mix of seasoned athletes and an ever-growing pool of young talent like Zambrano and Wiley leading the way, there's no doubt that this softball program has a bright future ahead.