HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Class 4A, Region 2 Final

Adkins pitches Bradford to regional championship

Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.

STARKE — Believe the hype.

The Bradford High School softball team is going to its first state softball tournament.

The Tornadoes won the Class 4A, Region 2 championship Monday night by knocking off Titusville Astronaut 1-0.

In front of a packed house at Tornado Alley, many of the hometown fans wearing “Believe The Hype” T-shirts, Bradford pitcher Ashton Adkins continued her superior pitching.

The junior went the distance while giving up just three hits and striking out six in facing two more than the minimum.

“She has had a phenomenal year,” Bradford coach Dan Davis said.

“She has taken a big step this year. Pretty much every game we play I know we are going to get her best. She is probably the most consistent pitcher I’ve coached.”

The lone run of the game was scored by Taylor Cruce. The sophomore led off the fourth with a double.

It looked like Bradford (28-2) was going to take a 2-0 lead. Clean-up hitter Lainie Rodgers smacked a Hannah Denny pitch to deep center field, but Bri Kasper reached her glove over the wall to rob Rodgers.

“I totally thought it was gone,” Rodgers said.

Two batters later, with two outs, Adkins and Denny battled in a nine-pitch at-bat.

Adkins fouled off several pitches before roping a single to left to score Cruce.

In the top of the sixth inning, with two outs, it looked like another ball was going to leave the yard.

The Astronaut (24-4) dugout roared while a collective sigh fell over the Bradford crowd when Denny blasted a ball deep to left field.

“I thought it was going out,” said Davis.

“I was surprised it stayed in. I was happy it stayed in.”

It was a double for Denny, but she was left stranded at second.

In the top half of the seventh with a 1-0 lead and one out, Bradford shortstop Jordan Davis and first baseman Lindsey Wiggins both made key defensive plays.

Davis got a force out at second after a ground ball got past Cruce at third for the second out.

Wiggins navigated foul territory to catch a difficult pop up to end the game.

“This is just so huge for our community,” Wiggins said.

“We have gotten so much support from everyone. I can’t wait to show off at state and say ‘We made it.’ ”

The Tornadoes will play defending state champion Miami Gulliver Prep at 2 p.m. Friday in Vero Beach in one semifinal.

Gulliver has outscored three playoff foes by a combined 35-0.

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