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Lady Bucs sink despite early lead

Miscues proved costly for the Briarwood Academy Lady Buccaneers in their home opener softball game Aug. 19.

The 5-3 loss to the visiting Bullock Academy Lady Gators also spoiled the Lady Buccaneers' hopes of winning in their new ballpark.

Briarwood's overall record, which dropped to 3-3 following the loss, had led 3-0 after three innings of play.

"We should have won that game," lamented Briarwood Academy head coach Hannah Demore. "We didn't play good, sound defense. We've got to get better."

The Lady Buccaneers, who finished runners-up last year in the Class A State Playoffs, scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning and added another run in the second inning.

In the first, senior centerfielder Emily Henderson led off with a beautiful bunt single. Henderson moved to second when shortstop Copeland Price singled. Both runners later moved up another base when second baseman Kris Dawson sacrificed bunted. Senior third baseman Maria Celeste Johnson later walked to load the bases with just one out.

Henderson eventually scored on a RBI double by Kylie Guy. Price tried to score on the play, too, but was thrown out at home plate on a nice throw from Bullock Academy centerfielder Rachel Gilbert to catcher Ashlee Lanier.

The catcher was hurt on the play and had to leave the game.

Briarwood's MacKenzie Simpkins followed with a walk, but was caught trying to steal second base to end any further threat.

The Lady Buccaneers, who also are coached by Kelly Guy and Butch Stadler this season, scored another run in the bottom of the second to increase their lead to 3-0.

After right fielder Harley Shelton grounded out to the shortstop, senior first baseman Savannah Carani reached on a walk off Lady Gators' starting pitcher Madelin Vickery. Carani later raced home with her team's third run of the game when Price reached base on a fielder's choice. Two other players also had hits during that inning for Briarwood. Collecting them was Henderson and Dawson.

With the bases loaded for the second time in the game, Johnson grounded out to end the inning.

Prior to the fourth inning, Briarwood Academy sophomore starting pitcher Megan Smith yielded the Lady Gators just two hits -- both of which were singles that came in the third.

The Lady Gators got on the scoreboard with their first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. They tagged Smith for three more hits.

A pair of errors proved costly for Briarwood Academy in the fifth inning, as the Lady Gators struck for four runs on two big miscues.

The victors only had one hit during that uprising.

The one bad defensive inning turned out to be the difference in the game.

During the fifth inning, Briarwood relief pitcher Morgan Bentley entered the game. By that time, the damage had been done. Smith was the losing pitcher.

Meanwhile, Bullock Academy relief pitcher Lauren Denard was terrific. She came into the game in the top of the sixth and held the Lady Buccaneers hitless and scoreless.

Web posted on Thursday, August 26, 2010

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