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Gators upset Brentwood
kaylee lanier2
Bulloch Academy’s Kaylee Lanier rips a hit against Brentwood on Tuesday at Gator Alley. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/staff

            Bulloch Academy softball coach Chandler Dennard was a bit nervous Tuesday prior to his Lady Gators facing the Brentwood Lady Eagles.

            After all, the Sandersville squad was tied for the first-place ranking in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Class AA Coaches’ Poll while his Lady Gators were fourth. It would be a tight game which would test his young squad.

            “I was a little geared up,” admitted Dennard. “Brentwood came in tied for the top spot in the state rankings and we were number four. This would be a big game against what we felt like was a top-caliber team.”

            “It was a tight, tough game…for a little over two innings.”

            Bulloch Academy erupted for five runs in the bottom of the third and played strong defense as the Lady Gators blasted Brentwood 8-1 to help solidify their claim as one of the top teams in the state. The victory lifts the Lady Gators to 7-3 on the season.

            Sunny Salzman had a banner day from the pitching circle, allowing just two hits and striking out five. The BA defense was solid, even though the Lady Gators did commit three errors. Still, the trio of third baseman Heaven Hinton, shortstop Kaylee Lanier and second baseman Taylor Collins easily handled the majority of Brentwood’s balls.

            “We had some good defense, even though we kicked the ball around a little bit more than I would like,” said Dennard. “Sunny did a good job on the mound. We had some timely hitting and we hit the ball hard.”

            The Lady Eagles threatened in the top of the third but Salzman pitched out of the jam. In the bottom of the inning, the Bulloch batters got their timing as they connected for four hits, a run-scoring fielder’s choice and a hard-hit ground ball that turned into a Brentwood error. Two base-on-balls also contributed to the scoring frenzy.

            In the inning, Lanier, Collins and Kate Anna Akins all had RBI singles, Hinton blasted a run-scoring double and Sally Marie Futch had the RBI fielder’s choice. Salzman and Kelcie Jacobs walked and Rachel Gilbert reached on an error.

            “Offensively, we are doing what we have to do,” said Dennard. “Our lead-off batters are getting on base however they can. The batters in the middle of the order are pounding the ball and driving them in. Today, even the batters in the bottom of the order showed their scoring ability. We’re making their pitchers’ work and hitting the ball hard, even when we make outs.”

            Brentwood averted the goose egg in the fifth on a walk and two BA errors to cut the lead to 5-1.

            Bulloch added two in the bottom of the inning to up the score to 7-1. Akins reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Futch. Akins took third, thanks to a Lady Eagle error on Kaylee Dennard’s hot shot. Another error, this time on a Jacob’s slap, sent Akins home. Gilbert ripped a single to center to score Dennard.

            The Lady Gators added their final run in the sixth. Collins singled, stole second, went to third on a Brentwood error on Amelia Akins’ blast to the mound and scored on Rebekah White’s fielder’s choice.

            Bulloch travels to Martinez Thursday to battle Region 2-AA foe Curtis Baptist.