Crosby’s home run leads Santa Fe past GHS

Santa Fe's Amy Crosby (14) celebrates after hitting a sixth inning two-run home run against Gainesville.
Santa Fe's Amy Crosby (14) celebrates after hitting a sixth inning home run against Gainesville.
Photo by C.J. Gish

If you had told Gainesville softball coach Chris Chronister before Monday night’s game that GHS would score five runs against visiting Santa Fe (Alachua) he would have predicted a Hurricanes’ victory.

After all, freshman ace Leanna Bourdage was in the circle and was averaging two strikeouts per inning this year.

However, Santa Fe (18-3) finished with 12 hits and capitalized on six GHS errors for an 8-5 win at Boulware Ballpark to split the two-game season series.

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“It’s a big win for us,” said Santa Fe coach Gene Findley, whose team won its eighth straight game. “They’ve been working hard and they were prepared for this game. Their pitcher is very good, but we’ve had a couple of games now where the whole team has really stepped up and bought into some things and it’s really changed our game a lot.”

Gainesville's Braylin Cook (in helmet with head down) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning against Santa Fe.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville’s Braylin Cook (in helmet with head down) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning against Santa Fe.

It was a see-saw game throughout.

“They’re a good team,” said GHS coach Chris Chronister. “We knew coming in it was going to be a battle. They were hungry for it. We just didn’t execute defensively. I’m not sure what the score would have been had we executed defensively, but really that was a letdown for us tonight.”

The Raiders had leads of 1-0, 3-1, and 4-3, but each time the Hurricanes (17-4) would rally.

College of Central Florida signee Amy Crosby (3-for-5) nearly hit for the cycle and led the Raiders with three hits, three runs scored and two runs batted in.

“Her hitting was on,” Findley said. “She’s been working hard on it. She’s a great bunter, she has got great wheels, but I told her ‘People are coming up in your face you’ve got to be able to drive the ball and change your whole outlook on things,’ and she’s been working very hard on it and it’s starting to happen.”

Santa Fe's Gracie Mattson slides safely into second base in front of Gainesville's Roxanne Walsh in the third inning.
Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe’s Gracie Mattson slides safely into second base in front of Gainesville’s Roxanne Walsh in the third inning.

Crosby led off the game with a triple and scored the first run of the game in the top of the first for an early 1-0 lead.

Gainesville answered and took the lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run home run by junior Braylin Cook, her seventh home run of the season.

Santa Fe reclaimed the lead, 3-2, on a two-run error by junior left fielder Olivia Lockerman on a fly ball that should have been the third out of the inning.

Santa Fe pitcher Sarah Burns struck out six batters in an 8-5 win at Gainesville.
Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe pitcher Sarah Burns struck out six batters in an 8-5 win at Gainesville.

“We just made too many errors and it cost us on the scoreboard,” Chronister said. “We scored five runs. If you would have told me before the game that we were going to score five runs, I would say that’s a win, but we couldn’t hold up defensively and that cost us.”

GHS sophomore first baseman Adrianna Koralewski (2-for-2, 2 RBI) singled to left in the third and fifth innings, tying the game at 3-3 and 4-4.

But in the top of the sixth, following a lead-off single by junior Breleigh Ford, Crosby sent Bourdage’s pitch over the right field fence for a 6-4 lead.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I just swung,” Crosby said with a laugh. “I was so ready, but she’s a good pitcher. I’m going to give props to her. She’s a really good pitcher and she’s really on. She’s going to do big things.”

An RBI double by junior center fielder J’lyn Guyden (2-for-4, RBI) extended the lead to 7-4.

While the offense was rolling, it was the defense that helped save the game late.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lockerman singled with one out and senior center fielder Elise Knopf had an infield hit to bring the tying run to the plate.

Junior third baseman McKenna O’Sullivan grounded between first and second base for an apparent hit.

However, Raiders’ second baseman Maren Hornsby dove to her left and took away a hit by throwing O’Sullivan out.

First baseman Montana Moen then threw it home and catcher Ainslea Kelsoe threw down to junior Gracie Mattson at third base.

Mattson ran Lockerman down and tagged her out for the third out of the inning to end the threat.

“That was huge,” Findley said. “That’s being ball smart. Both kids are very ball smart and they’ve got wheels, they’re fast. Hornsby gets rid of the ball very quick, and Gracie was able to read the runner and knew she could run her down.”

Santa Fe added some insurance in the top of the seventh.

Gainesville first baseman Adriana Koralewski snags a throw to get Santa Fe's Ainslea Kelsoe out in the top of the second inning.
Photo by C.J. Gish Gainesville first baseman Adriana Koralewski snags a throw to get Santa Fe’s Ainslea Kelsoe out in the top of the second inning.

Junior designated player Madolyn Jablonski (2-for-4, RS) had a one-out double and scored on an RBI single by Ford (2-for-4, RBI, RS) for an 8-4 lead.

Bourdage (3-for-4, 2 DBL, 4 RS) led off the final half inning with a double down the third base line and scored on an error by sophomore Madisen Crobsy in left field, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out.

However, sophomore pitcher Sarah Burns (7 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 7 BB, 6K) struck out sophomore Roxanne Walsh and got junior Rihanna Williams to fly out to right field to end the game.

“In my opinion, it was a great game, back and forth,” Findley said. “Both sides were battling. It was a very good game, which will make both teams better getting ready for the playoffs.”

Santa Fe, which will host next week’s 3A-District 5 Tournament, will travel to Vanguard (Ocala) on Tuesday and close out the regular season at Hamilton County on Thursday.

Gainesville will host Eastside at 7 p.m. on Wednesday for Senior Night in the regular season finale before playing in next week’s 5A-District 2 Tournament.

Santa Fe's Amy Crosby beats the throw home to Gainesville catcher Braylin Cook in the top of the fifth inning.
Photo by C.J. Gish Santa Fe’s Amy Crosby beats the throw home to Gainesville catcher Braylin Cook in the top of the fifth inning.

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