Errors and leaving runners on base usually come back to haunt a team.
On Monday the Bulloch Academy softball team hosted John Milledge in the GISA Class-AAA quarterfinals in a best two-out-of-three series and errors and runners left on base proved costly as they dropped the opener 12-6 and lost the nitecap 5-3, ending their season.
The Gators combined to commit 11 errors in the two games and left 15 runners on base in 14 innings something head coach Nikki Perkins knew would be tough to overcome.
“The difference in the game was our inability to come through with hits with runners in scoring position,” said Perkins. “You can’t do that and commit a bunch of errors as well and beat a good team. These are things we have to get a lot better at over the off season.”
The Gators were within a run at 7-6 in the top of the fifth in Game 1 and were tied 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth in Game 2. The trouble for the Gators came in the last three innings of both games in which they were outscored 7-0.
Game one went back and forth with the Trojans jumping out to a 7-1 lead before the Gators battled back for three runs in the third and two runs in the bottom of the fourth. The Gator bats were led by Kacie Ricketts who went 2-4 with three RBI. Claiborne Jones added a pair of hits and Caroline Baird had a hit and an RBI.
The big momentum shift in the first game came with the Gators down 7-6 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth. With relief pitcher Ansley Brooks struggling the Gators had a ground out and a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
“We had bases loaded with no outs down by one with their pitcher struggling and we couldn’t bring anyone in,” said Perkins. “That was our chance, and we couldn’t do anything. We did a good job getting runners on base and a poor job bringing them home. I felt like things swung their way then and we have to be able to come back from things like that better.”
Leading 7-6 the Trojans pulled away with a solo homer by Emily Walker to make it 8-6. Ashley Tyson and Ana Land added RBI singles in the seventh to put things out of reach in the first game.
The Gators were right with the Trojans for most of the second game. Bulloch Academy left the bases loaded in the first inning and the Trojans scored a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 1-0.
In the top of the second Claiborne Jones came through with an RBI double to tie the game at 1-1, but the Gators left the bases loaded once again.
The Trojans and Gators traded runs in the next three inning to leave the score 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth where the Trojans added a pair of runs on an RBI Single by Ella Hudgins and a wild pitch which plated Hudgins from third. The Gators had a runner on third in the top of the sixth but stranded her there and then went out in order in the top of the seventh to end the game.
“We hate to see our two seniors Allie Beth Pressley and Kacie Ricketts go but we have a lot of hope on the horizon,” said Perkins. We have a huge eight grad class and a lot of talented freshmen to get in the mix next year. I feel our pitching will be greatly improved and we will have depth as well. We will get to work over the summer and see what we’ve got.”