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Tornadoes fall to Gulliver Prep by 7-2 score in semifinals

Mackenzie Gault runs to first on a ground ball.

Mackenzie Gault runs to first on a ground ball.


BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Regional News/Sports Editor

Bradford took a quick lead on a Miami Gulliver Prep team that had yet to give up a run this postseason, but the Raiders scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth on their way to handing the Tornadoes a 7-2 loss in a Class 4A semifinal softball game on May 10 in Vero Beach.

Taylor Cruce hit a home run in the top of the first to put the Tornadoes (28-3) up 1-0, but it was only one of three hits on the day for Bradford.

“It felt great,” Cruce said of the homer. “I thought that would set the tone, and we were going to win it.”

The Raiders, though, answered in the bottom of the inning, with Stephanie Texeira hitting an RBI double.

Bradford pitcher Ashton Adkins gave up eight hits, but half of those came in the fourth inning as Gulliver Prep batters seemed to find all the gaps that balls could drop into.

“They only hit one ball real hard,” Bradford head coach Daniel Davis said. “They just did a good job of hitting good pitches. Asthon was making some good pitches on them, and they were fisting them out over the infielders’ heads.”

Texeira, who finished 3-for-3, drove in two of the six runs in the fourth with a single, while the Raiders (24-5) also took advantage of three walks and an error.

Bradford’s Lainie Rodgers drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh. Mackenzie Gault then hit a one-out triple to push the game’s final run across. Jordan Davis walked to give the Tornadoes runners at the corners with one out, but they were left stranded as Gulliver Prep pitcher Gabbee Draney recorded two strikeouts to end the game.

Cruce said a Bradford team that has no seniors is ready to return for another go at a state title next year.

“I think we will come back,” she said. “We do have the goal to win it next year. We had the goal to win it this year, and we almost made it. We did get close.”

Taylor Cruce swings at a pitch in the first inning.

Taylor Cruce swings at a pitch in the first inning.

Third baseman Taylor Cruce chats with pitcher Ashton Adkins.

Third baseman Taylor Cruce chats with pitcher Ashton Adkins.

Taylor Cruce (far right) takes the field during player introductions. Sabina Watson (far left) and Megan Farmer are also pictured.

Taylor Cruce (far right) takes the field during player introductions. Sabina Watson (far left) and Megan Farmer are also pictured.

Pitcher Ashton Adkins catches an pop-up in front of first baseman Lindsey Wiggins.

Pitcher Ashton Adkins catches an pop-up in front of first baseman Lindsey Wiggins.

Ashton Adkins

Ashton Adkins

Lindsey Wiggins is hit by a pitch in the third inning.

Lindsey Wiggins is hit by a pitch in the third inning.

Right fielder Lainie Rodgers makes sure the infield knows how many outs there are.

Right fielder Lainie Rodgers makes sure the infield knows how many outs there are.

Bradford players huddle for prayer prior to the game.

Bradford players huddle for prayer prior to the game.

Annie Luke

Annie Luke

Annie Luke (far right) is cheered on by teammates (l-r) Sabina Watson, Megan Farmer, Lindsey Wiggins, Jordan Davis and Mackenzie Gault during player introductions.

Annie Luke (far right) is cheered on by teammates (l-r) Sabina Watson, Megan Farmer, Lindsey Wiggins, Jordan Davis and Mackenzie Gault during player introductions.

Taylor Cruce (far right) is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run.

Taylor Cruce (far right) is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run.

Mackenzie Gault runs to first on a ground ball.

Mackenzie Gault runs to first on a ground ball.

A ball falls for a single between second baseman Mackenzie Gault (left) and center fielder Megan Farmer.

A ball falls for a single between second baseman Mackenzie Gault (left) and center fielder Megan Farmer.

Mackenzie Gault

Mackenzie Gault

Megan Farmer prepares to take a lead at second in the third inning.

Megan Farmer prepares to take a lead at second in the third inning.

Megan Farmer makes an out in center field.

Megan Farmer makes an out in center field.

Shortstop Jordan Davis prepares to make a throw to first.

Shortstop Jordan Davis prepares to make a throw to first.

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

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