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Gators rally past Pinewood
BA Softball
Bulloch Academy's Liv Finley, Leah Williford and Hartlee Faircloth celebrate after Finley made back to back acrobatic plays in centerfield, in helping the Gators to a 8-5 region win at home against Pinewood Tuesday afternoon. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

Bulloch Academy head coach Kyle Chambers had been fighting gallbladder pain all day, and actually had to give up the coaching reins for most of the Gators game Tuesday against the visiting Pinewood Patriots. The Gators didn’t give their coach much to help his upset stomach for the first five innings as they trailed 5-1, but managed to outscore the Patriots 7-0 over the final three innings as they came back for a 8-5 victory.

When we’ve struggled over the past two years, it has usually been because a team has taken an early lead against us,” Chambers said. “I felt like today, we stayed up, we stayed positive, and continued to put the bat on the ball, and things started falling our way.”

Bulloch Academy trailed 5-1 when the Gators began to claw back in the bottom of the fifth. Pitcher Baylee Howard helped her own cause as she doubled home Liv Finley to cut the lead to 5-2. Hartlee Faircloth then made it a one-run ballgame with a two-run single to left to make the score 5-4.

Pinewood threatened to add to their lead in the top of the sixth, but Finley made a leaping catch at the fence to rob Clair Lewis of a home run.

The Gator comeback continued in the bottom of the sixth, and once again Howard showed she can do much more than pitch as she drove in the tying, and go-ahead runs with a two-run single to left for a 6-5 Gator lead. J.B. Marsh then walked with the bases loaded to make it 7-5, and Faircloth capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left for the final of 8-5.

“Scoring seven striahg runs shows the resilience of our team,” Chambers said. “The se girls get up for these region games, especially against Pinewood. Pinewood is a good team, and they are always well coached, so a victory against them is big for us.”

The Patriots actually started the scoring in the first on an RBI double by Ansley Howard. The Gators answered with a solo home run by Leah Williford in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1.

Pinewood took a 3-1 lead on RBI singles by Clair Lewis and Cierra Kinlaw. They’d tack on two more on a single by Taylor Hendrix, which was followed by a Gator error, allowing two runs to score for a 5-1 lead.

The Gators currently sit on top of the region standings at 2-0, with a key game coming up Thursday as they host Trinity at 4:00.

“We’ve played a lot of games, but this is only our second region game,” Chambers said. “We have to continue to hit the ball, and play well in the field as we have Trinity on Thursday, and they will be a tough one for us.”