NEW ALBANY — When it started, New Albany third baseman Whitney Atkins was in a bit of a slump. When it was over, it was nearly a hitting streak.
Atkins had doubles in each of her first two at-bats and finished with four RBIs to lead the Bulldogs past Silver Creek 6-4 in the finals of New Albany's annual Jacque Hunter Invitational on Saturday.
The Bulldogs advanced to the title game with an 8-1 win over Trinity Lutheran earlier in the day and moved to 7-0 on the season.
"Whitney has been struggling a bit, but we're glad to see she came out of her slump," said New Albany coach Steve Belden. "She's worked hard to get out of it."
New Albany collected nine hits against Silver Creek starter Mackenzie Bush and set the tone early with two runs in its first time up.
After leadoff hitter Jena Fath reached on a Dragon error, Atkins gave a preview of what was to come by belting a 1-2 pitch from Bush nearly to the fench in left-center. With runners on second and third with none out, the Bulldogs took advantage with an RBI single by Kennedy Wynn and a grounder from Hannah Morton that scored Atkins from third for a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Still, Silver Creek wasn't ready to back down.
The Dragons (3-4), who posted an 8-0 win over Class A power Lanesville in the semifinals, came right back to tie things up in the top of the second. Shayla Cravens and Bush each drew walks to start the rally, then a bunt single by Hannah Mattingly loaded the bases with no outs.
Morton — the New Albany starter — nearly wiggled out of the jam with consecutive strikeouts and could have come out unscathed had her defense caught what appeared to be a routine fly ball down the first-base line off the bat of Kami Pennington, but the ball fell between three Bulldogs to allow two runs to score.