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TC too much Bulloch Academy
sapp swinging
Bulloch Academy Sophomore Matthew Sapp prepares to take a cut in the second inning against Trinity Christian School Friday. Sapp led the Gators, going 3-for-4 in Bulloch’s 6-0 loss to the Crusaders. - photo by RAHN HUTCHSEON/Special to the Herald
    A brilliant pitchers’ duel spiraled out of control late in the game as Trinity Christian School beat Bulloch Academy 6-0 in a pivotal GISA Region 2-AA baseball match-up at Gator Alley Friday.
    Bulloch freshman Walker Blitch and Trinity junior Austin Frost turned in masterful performances in a quick and efficient contest which lasted just 1:39. Their contrasting styles baffled hitters during the majority of the afternoon. The contest had no score through four innings until Trinity pushed a run across in the fifth.
    “How about that Walker Blitch?,” said BA head coach Daryl Evans. “I don’t think he could throw the ball against a pane of glass and break it. It might vibrate some though. The good thing is that he’s just a freshman so we get to watch him frustrate batters for three more years. The bad thing is that Frost is a junior, so we get to see him again next season.”
    Frost struck out 12 Gators with a good fast ball and a tricky curve ball en route to improving his mark to 5-0 and helping the Crusaders to all but secure the top seed in the region. The victory put the Crusaders at 10-3 overall and 5-1 in region play, with their only region loss being at the hands of the Gators earlier in the season. The loss dropped Bulloch to 9-5 overall and 2-3 in the region.
    Bulloch touched Frost for seven hits in the game but the Gators couldn’t put them together to push a run across. Sophomore Matthew Sapp went 3-for-4 to lead the BA offense.
    The Gators had their chances but the offense stalled at inopportune times.
    In the bottom of the first, Sapp led off the game with a single to left and went to third on a Burke double.
    “We came out of the gate with a single and a double and I thought, ‘We’re good to go,’” said Evans.
    But back-to-back Ks and a pop-fly to the shortstop ended the inning.
    “You’re not going to win a lot of games striking out,” he said. “You have to have a positive at-bat.”
    Bulloch had other early chances.
 In the second, senior Drew Cheshire pounded a one-out double, but couldn’t be plated. In the fourth, designated hitter Matt Simons reached on an error and shortstop Win Lee singled. But the following three batters fell victim to Frost’s fast ball.
    The Gator defense held the Crusaders at bay. Right fielder Clay Anderson got plenty of work early as did center fielder Burke, who robbed James Hobbs in the fourth and made a diving catch in the fifth.
    But it was in that inning where the tide began to turn.
    TCS leadoff batter Eric Shepherd singled over Lee and then stole second. Tim Stuckey then sent Blitch’s 2-2 pitch over the outstretched glove of second baseman Cheshire to plate Shepherd and draw first blood.
    In the bottom of the inning, Burke reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on junior Michael DeLoach’s single to left. Both moved up a base on a passed ball. But, with two outs, Simons’ blast  to deep right center was snagged for the third out.
    Simons came on to pitch in the fifth and gave up two walks and a run-scoring double to J.P. Mitchell. He was relieved in favor of freshman Davis Howell. TCS’s Chris Hobbs ripped a bullet down the left-field line, scoring Mitchell and James Hobbs for a 4-0 lead.
    In the seventh, the Crusaders took advantage of three Gator errors to plate two insurance runs for a 6-0 lead.
    In the bottom of the frame, Sapp gave the home fans a little hope when he legged out an infield single with one out. But a pop-up and another strikeout ended the game.
    Bulloch hosts region foe Edmund Burke in a key match-up Tuesday which will help finalize the region standings. The date is also the Gators’ final regular-season home game. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.