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Lady Gators finish second in the state

    DUBLIN - Trinity Christian School defeated Bulloch Academy twice during the varsity softball regular season en route to winning the GISA Region 2-AA title.  The third meeting of the squads was Saturday in the Class AA state championship game.
    Unfortunately, the third time wasn't the charm for the Lady Gators.
    Trinity used a six-run fourth inning to blow open a 4-2 contest and beat BA 11-2 to claim the 2006 state championship. Bulloch Academy received the state runner-up trophy, the highest pinnacle of achievement for the BA softball program since it went to fast-pitch softball.
    Bulloch began the championship tournament at Southern Pines Regional Park with a 3-1 loss to Brentwood. The Lady Gators had to battle through the losers' bracket, downing Griffin Christian High School 8-2 and avenging the earlier loss to Brentwood by dominating the Lady Eagles 4-0.
    In the title game, the Lady Gators (24-6) committed four errors which helped the TCS cause, but the Lady Crusaders also roughed up starter Sunni Salzman for nine hits through 31⁄3 innings.
    Trinity (20-6) opened the scoring in the first inning, notching two runs on one hit and two BA errors. TCS added another run in both the second and third innings.
    In the fourth, Bulloch's Addie Reddick and Rachel Gilbert reached on consecutive errors. Both were able to advance one back and Reddick then scooted home on a Kaylee Lanier sacrifice fly while Gilbert went to third. Gilbert crossed the plate on a Kacie Lanier  fielder's choice to cut the Trinity lead to 4-2.
    But Bulloch's joy was to be short lived. In the bottom of the inning the Lady Crusaders scored six runs on six hits and a BA error to take a 10-2 lead. Trinity added another run in the fifth. Salzman (10-4) was credited with the loss.
    Trinity pitchers Chelsea Williams and Charlise Howell combined to limit Bulloch to just two hits — a triple by Reddick in the sixth and a single by Bailey Driggers in the seventh.
    To get to the late-afternoon title game, the Lady Gators won back-to-back contests through the middle of the day.
    After the morning loss to Brentwood put Bulloch in the losers' bracket, Bulloch faced Griffin Christian in a win-or-go-home situation.
    The Lady Gators responded to their predicament, scoring seven runs in the final two innings for the 8-2 victory.
    Reddick went 3-for-4 and Kim Denton was 2-for-3 with two RBI in the game as the Lady Gators pounded out 10 hits and took advantage of four Lady Crusader errors. Kelcie Jacobs (14-2) got the win.
    With GCHS holding a 2-1 lead, the Lady Gators got on track offensively in the sixth and scored four runs on four hits and an error. In the inning, Reddick and Kaylee Lanier singled while Denton and Kaylee Dennard had RBI singles. The Lady Gators added insurance in the seventh with three runs on singles by Reddick and Kacie Lanier and a triple from Heaven Hinton.
    A rematch with Brentwood followed and the third time was the charm for the Lady Gators (the Eagles had also beaten BA once during the regular season).
    Bulloch scored four runs on eight hits and played marvelous defense to avenge the day's earlier loss.
    Reddick went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Kristin Deal was 2-for-4 with an RBI as Bulloch scored one in the first, two in the third and one in the fifth. Jacobs threw a four-hitter for the victory and Salzman pitched the final two innings for the save.
    In the opening game of the day, Bulloch took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth when Reddick singled, stole second and beat the throw home after a Gilbert single.
    But Brentwood scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the inning and kept the Lady Gators at bay in the sixth and seventh for the win.

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