MACON — With only one senior on the field, the Bulloch Academy Lady Gators are going to experience some ups and downs on the softball diamond during the 2010 fast-pitch softball season.
“Youth is raising its head,” BA head coach Chandler Dennard said as his squad competed in the annual Windsor Academy Invitational pre-season tournament Wednesday and Thursday, “and sometimes it’s ugly. It’s going to be a roller-coaster ride this season.”
On Thursday, the Lady Gators played three games, winning one by three runs and losing two by a total of four. Bulloch lost 8-5 to Southland Academy in the morning but rallied to defeat Tiftarea 7-4. In the afternoon, the Gator girls were nipped 2-1 by Southland.
“We were up 7-2 on Tiftarea and let them score a couple runs before we nailed the door shut,” said Dennard. “Freshman pitcher Madelyn Vickery got her first career victory. Marianna Peebles, Rachel Gilbert and Page Spence had good performances at the plate.”
Earlier in the day, the Lady Gators hung tough with the team from Americus but then errors got the best of the young squad.
“At times, we look pretty good,” said Dennard. “Then, there are other times when we looked less than stellar. We are extremely inexperienced at the majority of our positions. Sometimes, the only player on the infield above the 10th grade is our catcher (junior Taylor Collins).”
On Wednesday, the Lady Gators nipped Loganville Christian 2-1 and lost to defending Class AAA state champion Stratford Academy 8-5.
“We were up 5-3 on the defending state champions, who returned their entire squad, and they had to score five runs in the last inning to win,” said Dennard.
Bulloch Academy begins regular season play Tuesday, traveling to Stillmore to battle cross-county rival David Emanuel Academy.
14 starters return for Tech
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech opened practice on Thursday with 14 returning starters from its 2009 ACC championship team but big losses at some key positions.
The Yellow Jackets had four key juniors enter this year's NFL draft: receiver Demaryius Thomas, running back Jonathan Dwyer, safety Morgan Burnett and defensive end Derrick Morgan. That leaves coach Paul Johnson having to replace his leading receiver and rusher and defensive big-play leaders in interceptions and sacks.
The unquestioned leader is senior quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns last year as the Yellow Jackets finished 11-3 and beat Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
Georgia Tech had a combined 105 scholarship and walk-on players for Thursday's first practice.
Media picked the Yellow Jackets third in the Coastal Division last month, behind Virginia Tech and Miami.
Braves retiring Glavine's No. 47
ATLANTA (AP) — The unflappable Tom Glavine said he's not sure how he will react when he sees the Atlanta Braves retire his No. 47.
Glavine was rarely rattled as the Braves' 10-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner.
"I don't know exactly what to expect in terms of how I feel," Glavine told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This is not something I really anticipated or even dreamed about happening."
Glavine's No. 47 will be placed beside former teammate Greg Maddux's No. 31 on the Turner Field facade in left field. Maddux's number was retired last year.
AMS loses NASCAR event
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Motor Speedway will host just one NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2011.
The track announced Thursday it will hold a 500-mile Cup race at the track on Labor Day weekend next year.