NEW PORT RICHEY — Last season, Gulf catcher Nikki Sedivy started to build a reputation of being one of the top clutch hitters in Pasco County. Sedivy belted five home runs in 2013, with a couple being of the walk-off variety.
This year hasn’t been as friendly to Sedivy, with the senior batting a respectable .345 but with no home runs so far. Tuesday night, Sedivy brought back memories of her heroics from a year ago as she knocked in two runs on a walk-off double to lift Gulf to a 3-2 victory against Class 5A-District 8 rival River Ridge.
“Last year, I hit five home runs and I think it was because I wasn’t really known in the area,” Sedivy said. “With the five home runs I hit last season, I’d say the game-winning hit felt better than any of those home runs ever did.”
The Buccaneers (13-2, 6-1) were hoping to avoid dropping to the No. 3 seed in 5A-8. With the victory, Gulf has entrenched itself into the No. 2 position heading into the district tourney in a couple weeks, which could spring up another matchup with River Ridge (19-3, 6-2), which now falls to the No. 3 spot.
River Ridge took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning, when Kenzi Maguire led off with a triple and scored on a single by Madisyn Palmer.
The Royal Knights carried their 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh when Rachel Gardner was able to reach on an error and Tarra Rice singled to left field. After pitcher Madison Morlan struck out, Sedivy doubled down the left-field line off River Ridge pitcher Makenzie Goluba (five strikeouts) and drove in Gardner and Rice for the walk-off victory.
“There’s never a secret in figuring out a pitcher like (Makenzie) Goluba,” Gulf coach Rick Hohenthaner said. “She’s a tough pitcher and that’s why (River Ridge) is so successful.”