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Lady Gators eliminated in Final Four

DUBLIN — Bulloch Academy won its first game in GISA Class AAA Final Four tournament Saturday at Southern Pines Regional Park but then saw its spectacular season come to a heartbreaking end by the slimmest of margins.

The Lady Gators (22-13) beat Stratford Academy 6-1 at noon but lost to Westfield 7-6 in the 2 p.m. game of the double-elimination tournament. Bulloch squared off against the Eaglettes in the 4 p.m. game and lost, 6-5.

In the opener, Stratford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first but could add no more. Bulloch scored three in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth to defeat Stratford and go into the winner’s bracket. Ashley Burke, Mary Margaret Reeves, Kaleigh Sisolak and Powell Fennell had BA’s five hits. Lauren Dennard scattered four hits over seven innings for the win.

In the game against Westfield, the Lady Hornets jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Lady Gators answered back in the third with four runs on doubles from Burke and Sisolak and singles from Reeves and Dennard.

BA took a 6-3 lead in the fifth on singles from Sisolak, Spence, Fennell and Haley Mock. Westfield cut the lead to 6-5 with two runs in the bottom of the inning and added two in the sixth for the lead. The Lady Gators couldn’t retaliate and were forced to the third and deciding game. Dennard, who relieved Madelyn Vickery in the fifth, got the loss.

Stratford took a 1-0 lead in the opening stanza of the win-or-go-home game but Bulloch added two in the bottom of the fourth. The Lady Gators pushed across three more in the fifth for a 5-1 lead.

But the Eaglettes scored four in the sixth to knot the score at 5-5 and plated a run in the top of the seventh for the victory. Dennard went 6 1/3 innings in the loss.