Bradford softball ousted in state semis

Bradford head coach Daniel Davis talks to his team against Gulliver Prep during the state semifinal game on Friday in Vero Beach.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 12:49 a.m.

VERO BEACH - The Bradford Tornadoes, making their first trip to the state softball tournament, certainly got off to a great start when sophomore Taylor Cruce hit her 13th home run of the season in the first inning.

Unfortunately for Bradford, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, it pretty much went downhill from there in the 7-2 loss.

Gulliver Prep, the three-time defending state champions, scored six runs in the fourth inning and never looked back, eliminating the Tornadoes (28-3) in the 4A state semifinals after their best season in school history.

"They put together a big inning, got a lot of clutch base hits, so they didn't hit them hard but they hit them in the right spots,” said Bradford coach Daniel Davis. “They put together a good inning and that was the difference. They are a great team so I give them a lot of credit. They are defending state champions for a reason.

“I thought Ashton (Adkins) made some good pitches, but they did a good job as hitters in hitting a good pitch and getting them just over the infielder's heads. Most of the hard hits we had were right at someone. I'm proud of the girls in representing our community in a positive way. To finish 28-3 is a great accomplishment and to reach state for the first time is quite an accomplishment. We hope to be back.”

Adkins (26-2) suffered only her second loss of the season, and really had one bad inning. But it was enough for the Raiders (24-5) to advance to today's state final against surprising Madison County (14-14), a 4-2 winner over Fort Myers Bishop Verot in the other state semifinal.

Mackenzie Gault had a run-scoring triple in the seventh for the Tornadoes, who only had three hits in the game and had their 10-game winning streak snapped.

Gulliver Prep starter Gabbee Draney (18-4) gave up just two hits in 6.1 innings pitched, allowing just one hit following Cruce's first inning homer.

“It feels great to be here, we fought back even though we got down,” Cruce said. “I thought it (first-inning homer) was going to win it for us right there. They were just getting hold of the ball and putting it where we couldn't get it. We should have been able to get more hits. We will be back.”

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