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Defense propels BA to win
white batting
Bulloch Academy freshman Rebekah White takes a cut Tuesday during BA’s match with Edmund Burke. The Gators won 6-3. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/Special
    Edmund Burke Academy’s Lady Spartans let the bats do the talking Tuesday against GISA Region 2-AA foe Bulloch Academy.
    After all, 10 hits should be enough to produce a victory, right?
    It was the gloves of the Lady Gators which provided enough stellar defensive efforts to hold EBA at bay as Bulloch came away with a much-needed 6-3 victory.
    “That’s how we made our living last year,” said BA head coach Chandler Dennard, referring to his girls’ defensive prowess. “Sunny Salzman surely had a career day at second base. Kelcie Jacobs had a great day on the mound, both pitching and defensively. I think everybody contributed something, whether it was making a play on defense or getting a hit.”
    Salzman, playing second instead of pitching to rest her strained forearm, turned an unassisted double play as well as being a part of the standard short-to-second-to first double banger. The sophomore also made a couple of diving grabs along with some routine plays.
    The infield was solid as junior Kaylee Lanier was tough at short and sophomore Heaven Hinton was a Hoover at third. Long-legged and limber eighth grader Taylor Collins made some great stretches at first. The outfield of sophomore Kate Anna Akins and freshmen Rachel Gilbert, Rebekah White and Sally Marie Futch ran down balls and made good throws back into the infield. Sophomore catcher Kaylee Dennard was a wall behind the plate.
    But things didn’t start well for the Lady Gators as EBA pounded Jacobs for three doubles in the top of the first en route to a 3-0 lead.
    Bulloch (6-6 overall, 2-0 in region play) fought back, scoring single runs in first three innings to knot the score at 3-3.
    In the bottom of the first, Gilbert used her speed to reach first on a bunt and took second on a wild pitch. Jacobs laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to third and Lanier scored her on a sacrifice fly to left.
    In the second, Dennard reached on an error and reached second on a Collins single. She moved to third when Akins walked to load the bases. Gilbert was hit by a pitch to force Dennard home. Gilbert and Collins had two hits each on the afternoon.
    In the third, Lanier singled, stole second and was sacrifice bunted to third by Dennard. She tied the score at 3-3 when she raced home on a Salzman fielder’s choice.
    Meanwhile, the Lady Gator defense had a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy as the Lady Spartans would collect a few hits here and there but would leave runners stranded when BA made the defensive plays.
    Bulloch broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on just one hit.
    In the inning, Hinton walked and advanced to second when Dennard was hit by a pitch. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Salzman drew a walk, but ball four was wild and Hinton came scampering home for the 4-3 lead. Collins launched a single into right field to score both Dennard and Salzman.
    “I think that’s the first time all season we’ve had a hit with runners in scoring position,” said Dennard. “Leaving runners on base has been hurting us all season. A lot of it has to do with being impatient at the plate. The girls are anxious to get a hit and are swinging at bad pitches. We have to be a little more patient.”
    Taking the lead seemed to fire the Lady Gators up as they held the lead in the sixth.
    In the top of the seventh, EBA threatened to score but Futch, playing in right field, made a pinpoint accurate throw to Dennard at the plate to nail a Lady Spartan runner.
    In junior varsity  action, Bulloch (2-1) nipped Edmund Burke 6-5. Lauren Dennard was the winning pitcher. Leading hitters for Bulloch were Maddie Marsh (2-for-2), Caitlin Barber (2-for-2), Ally Cheshire (2-for-3) and Jessica Critchley (1-for-1).
    The Bulloch varsity travels to Bellville Thursday to battle Pinewood. Both varsity and junior varsity will be in action Saturday, hosting Curtis Baptist. The varsity game is at 11 a.m. with the junior varsity contest to follow at 12:30 p.m.