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Tornadoes advance to Final Four with 1-0 win

The Region 2-Class 4A champion Bradford Tornadoes: (front, l-r) Jordan Davis, Taylor Crawford, Alexis Shealey, Lainie Rodgers, Mackenzie Gault, Sabina Watson, (middle, l-r) head coach Daniel Davis, Ashton Adkins, Megan Farmer, Annie Luke, Lindsey Wiggins, Jaci Atkinson, Taylor Cruce, Tornado mascot Jordan Luke, (back, l-r) assistant coach Ricky Norman and assistant coach Anthony McCallum.

The Region 2-Class 4A champion Bradford Tornadoes: (front, l-r) Jordan Davis, Taylor Crawford, Alexis Shealey, Lainie Rodgers, Mackenzie Gault, Sabina Watson, (middle, l-r) head coach Daniel Davis, Ashton Adkins, Megan Farmer, Annie Luke, Lindsey Wiggins, Jaci Atkinson, Taylor Cruce, Tornado mascot Jordan Luke, (back, l-r) assistant coach Ricky Norman and assistant coach Anthony McCallum.


BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Regional News/Sports Editor

Ashton Adkins gave up four hits in the circle and drove in the only run of the game as the Bradford High School softball team defeated visiting Astronaut 1-0 to win the Region 2-Class 4A championship and earn a berth in the state semifinals on Friday, May 10, against Gulliver Prep in Vero Beach.

“Oh, my gosh. It feels amazing,” first baseman Lindsey Wiggins said. “This is what we set our goal as. This is all we’ve wanted.”

Bradford head coach Daniel Davis said with the way Astronaut pitcher Hannah Denny was playing—she gave up six hits and no walks—defensive play was a key for the Tornadoes (28-2).

“The girls really played great defensively tonight, and I think that was the difference,” Davis said. “We were able to get some hits, but we weren’t able to string them together. To be able to play great on defense the way we did, and for Ashton to pitch the way she did, was huge tonight.”

Adkins did not give up a walk either and had five strikeouts.

“Every pitch, really, was working for her,” catcher Annie Luke said. “She just really threw her heart out tonight. She just did absolutely amazing.”

Taylor Cruce led off Bradford’s half of the fourth inning with a double into center field. She advanced to third on a ground out by Jordan Davis before scoring on a single by Adkins down the left-field line.

“I just knew we had to have a run somehow,” Adkins said. “I needed to get that run for my team.”

Coach Davis said, “I wanted, obviously, more than one run, but I was thinking one may be able to do it with the way the game was going, so to get that first one in was a big relief.”

One run did indeed prove to be enough. Now, the Tornadoes will play a Gulliver Prep team that has won three straight state titles. A win on May 10 would advance Bradford to the state championship game on Saturday, May 11.

“We’re confident we can go all the way,” Wiggins said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that we should be anything less than state champions.”

Davis

Megan Farmer makes an out in center field.

Megan Farmer makes an out in center field.

Mackenzie Gault makes a play at second.

Mackenzie Gault makes a play at second.

Lainie Rodgers reaches first after hitting a single in the first inning.

Lainie Rodgers reaches first after hitting a single in the first inning.

Pitcher Ashton Adkins (left) and third baseman Taylor Cruce celebrate an out.

Pitcher Ashton Adkins (left) and third baseman Taylor Cruce celebrate an out.

Bradford’s Mackenzie Gault attempts to steal second.

Bradford’s Mackenzie Gault attempts to steal second.

A happy Ashton Adkins (left) and Annie Luke run to the post-game team huddle.

A happy Ashton Adkins (left) and Annie Luke run to the post-game team huddle.

Mackenzie Gault (foreground) celebrates the win with teammates Lindsey Wiggins (background, right) and Sabina Watson.

Mackenzie Gault (foreground) celebrates the win with teammates Lindsey Wiggins (background, right) and Sabina Watson.

Taylor Cruce is pictured at third base.

Taylor Cruce is pictured at third base.

Ashton Adkins sizes up a pitch in the fourth inning. Her single in that inning would drive in the game’s only run.

Ashton Adkins sizes up a pitch in the fourth inning. Her single in that inning would drive in the game’s only run.

Taylor Cruce would hit this pitch for a double to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Cruce would later score on an Ashton Adkins single.

Taylor Cruce would hit this pitch for a double to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Cruce would later score on an Ashton Adkins single.

Jaci Atkinson sprints down the first-base line.

Jaci Atkinson sprints down the first-base line.

The Tornadoes’ Megan Farmer makes contact.

The Tornadoes’ Megan Farmer makes contact.

Bradford’s Taylor Cruce makes a play at third.

Bradford’s Taylor Cruce makes a play at third.

Annie Luke went 2-for-3 and was the multi-hit batter for Bradford.

Annie Luke went 2-for-3 and was the multi-hit batter for Bradford.

Ashton Adkins sizes up a pitch in the fourth inning. Her single in that inning would drive in the game’s only run.

Ashton Adkins sizes up a pitch in the fourth inning. Her single in that inning would drive in the game’s only run.

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