After starting the season 2-4 the Bulloch Academy Gators have now won seven of their last nine games. The latest Gator victory came Monday afternoon as they got solid pitching and timely hitting in knocking off David Emanuel 9-2 at Gator Alley.
“We played these guys this summer and lost to them and only had one hit,” said Gator coach Nikki Perkins. “That really shows how much we have improved in the last two months. Sydney did a great job of getting ground balls and we played pretty solid on defense. Our bats have been what we have relied on lately and we hit the ball well today too.”
Tied at 1-1 the Gators erupted for four runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-1 lead. Back-to-back singles by Caroline Baird and Jordan Taulbee helped set things up for Kacie Ricketts who brought them both home with a double to left field for a 3-1 lead. Claiborne Jones then connected for a double to the fence in left herself to plate Ricketts and extended the lead to 4-1.
A DEA error extended the Gator lead to 5-1 and things looked like they may get out of hand but with the bases loaded and no out the Gators had a runner picked off first and then with the bases loaded again a double 1-2-5 double play ended the inning.
The Bulloch Academy bats heated up again in the fourth inning as they scored three more runs. The Gators loaded the bases for Ava Kangeter who brought a pair of runs home with a single to center. The Gators added a run on another Eagle error and then capped it off with a run in the bottom of the sixth.
“Our 1-5 hitters are hitting the ball pretty solid consistently,” said Perkins. “We still have a few gaps toward the bottom of the lineup that come and go. When we can get them, all swinging the bat consistently, we will be tough to beat. Our biggest problem this year has been finding someone to play shortstop. We have rotated a lot of young girls in there and they just haven’t faced the pressure of varsity softball. I thought we improved there today which was nice to see.”
On the mound Sydney Priest had a solid outing allowing only four hits in seven innings with one walk and five strikeouts. The Gators were led offensively by Taulbee and Ricketts who each had three hits. Allie Beth Pressley and Baird had two hits apiece.
It’s a busy week for the Gators as they travel to First Presbyterian for a region doubleheader Tuesday and then return home for a doubleheader Thursday against Twiggs Academy as region play heats up.
“Things are kind of tight right now between us and Pinewood and Trinity,” said Perkins. “We beat Pinewood but lost to Trinity and then Trinity got beat by Pinewood. It is going to be a tight race this year like it was last year, but we just have to play ball and tighten a few things up.”