Trenton walks off to 1A Final

Trenton's Brandy Dees (left) drove in the winning run and Addison Allaire struck out 18 batters in the Tigers' 3-2 win in the Class 1A state semifinals on Friday.
Trenton's Brandy Dees (left) drove in the winning run and Addison Allaire struck out 18 batters in the Tigers' 3-2 win in the Class 1A state semifinals on Friday.
Photo by Mike Ridaught

Addison Allaire and Trenton were cruising through three innings against Holmes County (Bonifay) in the FHSAA Class 1A state semifinals at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont.

The freshman struck out the side in the first three innings and the Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead.

However, it took a late run to lift the Tigers past the Blue Devils, 3-2, scoring on a walk-off single to right field by senior Brandy Dees.

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“Holmes is a great team,” said Trenton coach Clint Anderson “Their record doesn’t reflect what kind of team they are. I’m just happy we got the win. I told the team if we could get through their three [in the top of the seventh], we’ve got the top of the order coming up and we’re in great shape.”

Allaire did her part in the final inning, striking out the Nos. 4 and 5 hitters and getting a fly out to center field to end the inning.

With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Presley Akins led off the inning with a single to left field, putting the potential winning run on base.

Charleigh Philmon’s sacrifice bunt moved Akins to second base, but Allaire was intentionally walked to put two on with only one out.

Then, the Lake Sumter State College signee jumped on the first pitch to win the game and send the Tigers (22-2) to their second state championship game appearance in three years.

“She [junior pitcher Bri Adams] was throwing first-pitch strikes every single time and we were a little behind on that with being aggressive on the first pitch,” Dees said. “When I came up to bat after they walked Addi, it gave me some motivation. He’s [Coach Anderson] told us constantly first pitch strikes so after she throws the first pitch strike, she’s going to come with the rise ball or come in on you, so I was like I’m going for this first pitch no matter what.”

Holmes County (16-14) took the lead, 2-1, with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth on a walk and back-to-back doubles by senior shortstop Karson McGowan and Adams.

However, Allaire came back to strike out the next seven batters and she retired the final 11 batters of the game.

“I knew I had to dig deep,” Allaire said. “I had to push through. It’s very hot out here, but I knew my team had my back.”

She finished the game with a two-hitter with only one walk and 18 strikeouts.

“My curveball was working well today,” she said. “I did better at keeping it down. I felt good. I felt like I was throwing the ball pretty hard, the curveball was staying down and the rise ball was hitting where I needed it to hit. It was a good day.”

Allaire only allowed three baserunners all day.

“She’s special,” Anderson said. “She pitched well. There was one inning where it wasn’t working but that comes with it. I kept telling the girls the game ain’t over and we’ve got to snatch that run back, and we did. We manufactured a run.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Allaire reached on an error by the left fielder.

Courtesy runner Tristan Layfield went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single to left field by junior Olivia Weaver to tie the game at 2-2.

Trenton will play Branford at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the Class 1A state title.

The Buccaneers (24-6) cruised to a 13-3 win against defending state champion Liberty County (Bristol) in the other state semifinal.

“It’s very exciting,” Allaire said. “I’m really proud of my team, I’m really proud of Brandy. I knew when I got walked that she was going to get a hit. That fuels her so much. I knew she was going to pull through for all of us. I knew my team had my back the whole time. It’s just a really cool experience.”

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