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Tornadoes defeat Indians for district softball title

Bradford High School won its first district championship in softball since 2003, defeating Keystone Heights 4-3 to claim the 5-4A trophy. Pictured are: (front, l-r) Sabina Watson, Lainie Rodgers, Jaci Atkinson, Mackenzie Gault, Taylor Cruce, (back, l-r) Lindsey Wiggins, Ashton Adkins, Megan Farmer, Annie Luke, Taylor Crawford, Jordan Davis and Alexis Shealey.

Bradford High School won its first district championship in softball since 2003, defeating Keystone Heights 4-3 to claim the 5-4A trophy. Pictured are: (front, l-r) Sabina Watson, Lainie Rodgers, Jaci Atkinson, Mackenzie Gault, Taylor Cruce, (back, l-r) Lindsey Wiggins, Ashton Adkins, Megan Farmer, Annie Luke, Taylor Crawford, Jordan Davis and Alexis Shealey.


BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Regional News/Sports Editor

Taylor Cruce’s hard single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Jaci Atkinson and gave the Bradford High School softball team a 4-3 win over Keystone Heights in the District 5-4A championship on April 19 in Fort White.

It was the first district title for the Tornadoes (25-2) in 10 years.

“It feels good,” Bradford head coach Daniel Davis said. “It’s amazing that it’s been that long. You don’t think of it being that long because we’ve had a lot of success in the program, but (championships are) hard to win when you’re in a district with teams like Keystone and Santa Fe. They’re not easy to come by.”

Cruce, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI, said, “It feels really great.”

Bradford held a 3-0 lead, but Keystone (12-11) evened the score when Ashley Maynard hit a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the seventh.

Cruce said the big hit failed to discourage her, saying she was thinking to herself “that we were fine. We had to get one more out. Then we were in the dugout and we were hitting.

Jaci Atkinson, who led off Bradford’s half of the seventh, wasn’t worried either.

“I was just ready to hit,” Atkinson said. “I was determined to stay aggressive the whole, entire time and just do what I needed to do to win.”

Atkinson, who was 4-for-4, came through in a big way, hitting a double into left field. She moved to third on Annie Luke’s sacrifice bunt before scoring on Cruce’s hit.

“It feels very awesome—very, very awesome,” Atkinson said. “I’m so excited.”

Bradford pitcher Ashton Adkins held the Indians to five hits, but Keystone had runners on base in every inning and put the leadoff or second batter on in four innings.

“We waited a little too late to want it,” Phillips said. “We had our opportunities.”

Bradford High School won its first district championship in softball since 2003, defeating Keystone Heights 4-3 to claim the 5-4A trophy. Pictured are: (front, l-r) Sabina Watson, Lainie Rodgers, Jaci Atkinson, Mackenzie Gault, Taylor Cruce, (back, l-r) Lindsey Wiggins, Ashton Adkins, Megan Farmer, Annie Luke, Taylor Crawford, Jordan Davis and Alexis Shealey.

Bradford High School won its first district championship in softball since 2003, defeating Keystone Heights 4-3 to claim the 5-4A trophy. Pictured are: (front, l-r) Sabina Watson, Lainie Rodgers, Jaci Atkinson, Mackenzie Gault, Taylor Cruce, (back, l-r) Lindsey Wiggins, Ashton Adkins, Megan Farmer, Annie Luke, Taylor Crawford, Jordan Davis and Alexis Shealey.

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