The Bulloch Academy baseball team waltzed into the state playoffs in style, pummeling Trinity Christian by a score of 15-3 Tuesday to earn the No.3 seed out of Region 4-AAA heading into this weekend’s first round of the Georgia Independent School Association tournament.
After finishing the regular season in a tie with the Crusaders, the Gators won a coin toss, earning the right to choose between hosting Tuesday’s game or being the home team in the contest.
Though batting in the top of each inning, Bulloch made itself right at home as it outscored Trinity 13-1 over the final five innings for the easy win.
“That’s exactly what we’ve been looking for,” said BA coach Dennis Dove. “We got a great effort from all aspects of our team today. After splitting the two regular season games with Trinity, we knew that they could come back, but we stayed focused and put them away.”
The Crusaders hung with the Gators to the tune of a 2-2 draw through the first two innings of play, but Bulloch broke through in a big way, sending five runners across the plate in the top of the third inning.
After Trinity starter Matt Alligood surrendered a two-run home run to Win Lee (2-for-2, HR, 2 RBIs) in the first inning, Kyle Outlaw relieved to begin the third, but ran into immediate trouble.
Outlaw issued walks to Chris Young, Lee, Erik Renew and Walker Blitch before being relieved by Chris Hobbs.
Hobbs recorded two outs, but Loy Waters lofted a three-run homer over the wall in left to give the Gators a commanding 7-2 lead.
“One thing that we’ve struggled with all season is moving runners over and getting them in,” said Dove. “We work on it every day at practice. Tonight, everything came through for us and we got those big hits from all parts of the lineup. (Waters’) home run was a real shot in the arm for us and set the tone.”
Blitch singled home Jarrett Humphries in the fourth inning and worked his way around to third before crossing the plate on a double steal for a 9-2 advantage.
Blitch notched another RBI in the sixth, driving home Lee on a sacrifice fly, and the Gators put the game out of reach in the seventh, capitalizing on two Trinity errors to score five more runs.
The Bulloch pitching was dominant as Blitch, Lee and Humphries combined to allow just five hits on the afternoon.
Outlaw and Chris Hobbs launched back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the first and Hobbs hit another homer in the fourth, but the Crusaders never mounted another threat.
The Gators now have to hit the road to keep their season alive.
Bulloch travels to Albany to face Region 1-AAA No. 2 seed Deerfield-Windsor in the first round of the state playoffs in a best-of-three series. Game 1 will be held Friday at 5:30 p.m. with Game 2 — and a possible Game 3 — to be held Saturday.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.