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Trenton’s Addison Allaire and GHS’ Leanna Bourdage are impressing as freshmen

The most iconic softball team in North Central Florida – Florida softball – appeared to have struck gold this season with the emergence of freshman pitchers Keegan Rothrock and Ava Brown.

However, the magic of freshman year seems to have carried over to high school.

Two freshmen – Leanna Bourdage of Gainesville High and Addison Allaire of Trenton – have taken the Gainesville area by storm.

With the FHSAA postseason set to begin on Thursday, the two childhood friends have put their dominant programs in place for championship glory this season and beyond.

‘I have to remain modest despite everything’

Chris Chronister has seen his fair share of great pitchers in his years as a GHS coach.

Ultimately, there’s Gator Katie Chronister and ultimately James Madison pitcher Alissa Humphrey.

Before Bourdage graced the circle at GHS, he knew the type of player he was getting.

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Gainesville High softball freshman Leanna Bourdage after the win at Trenton

GHS softball freshman Leanna Bourdage spoke with the Sun after delivering another gem: a complete game shutout win over previously undefeated Trenton

“I had seen her in travel ball and knew she could be quite effective,” Chronister said after the Hurricanes’ 2-0 win over Trenton on March 7. “You never know though until we go out and play the game.”

Since then, Bourdage has continued to improve. She got GHS off to an 11-0 start, and more recently she shined on the mound with an 18-strikeout no hitter over Middleburg, which is ranked in the top 10 in the state, in the 5A-District 2 title game last Thursday.

In addition to the Broncos and Tigers, Bourdage has faced tough competition all season. As a freshman with a lot to learn, she says she enjoys these opportunities to grow.

“I have to keep working hard to stay at that level and go even higher,” Bourdage said. “I know if I hadn’t worked on it, that wouldn’t have happened, and if I continue the work, we can keep getting better.”

She did the job well. Bourdage’s 200 Ks rank third in 5A. Her ERA of 0.55 is second in the league, as are her 13 wins.

She is in the top five among all three freshmen.

Furthermore, Bourdage has shown her excellence at the plate. She homered five times and scored 35 runs.

One of those came in the early-season win over Trenton, where she used her baserunning to get from first to home plate after a pair of errors.

“I know my speed. I like to run bases and I’m pretty heads up on all my plays,” Bourdage said. “I knew I had to run home and dive into home plate.”

In both Chronister and Humphrey’s first seasons, GHS went to the state and regional finals, respectively.

Bourdage’s coach is optimistic the ‘Canes can do the same this season.

“Leanne is following in their footsteps and it seems like the same scenario,” Chronister said. “She’s a very confident and successful pitcher coming in, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

‘I have enough experience to relax’

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Trenton softball freshman Addison Allaire speaks after the loss to GHS

Trenton softball freshman Addison Allaire spoke to the Sun after throwing a complete game in a tight 2-0 loss to GHS on Thursday night in a battle of top teams

In Gilchrist County, Allaire is a freshman, as is Bourdage. But unlike her friend, this isn’t her first season in college.

In fact, it’s her fourth.

As with Chronister, Trenton coach Clint Anderson immediately saw the beast that Allaire was.

“We were practicing in Trenton, and we looked down at the high school field,” Anderson said. “This kid was throwing and swinging the bat, and me and the other coaches walked down and we said, ‘come with us.’ ‘

Allaire joined the varsity as a sixth-grader and played second base for the team’s 2021 state title-winning squad.

Her pitching time increased in 2022 and 2023, but this season Anderson saw a change in her work ethic.

“She tries to outsmart everyone and she’s a perfectionist,” Anderson said. “She keeps going until she gets it right.”

Allaire credited her teammates with the jump.

“I know the girls have my back all the time, and they give me 100% effort,” Allaire said. “I also think I finally have enough experience to relax and do what I do.”

Allaire struck out fewer batters in three games than Bourdage, striking out 164 batters (3rd in 1A) and has an ERA of 0.73 (1st in 1A). Her 11 wins are 5e in the class.

She also rakes the plate, just like Bourdage.

She has bombed seven long balls (3rd in 1A) and drove in 30 runs (12e in 1A).

Her Tigers defeated a tough schedule. They got revenge on GHS with a 2-0 win in April, beating Branford, Fort White and Santa Fe, each a contender to go to the United States.

Trenton itself is in twelfth placee in Florida and is 1A’s state title favorite.

‘Enemies on the field, buddies off it’

Anderson said the two chatted for an hour before their first match against each other.

“That’s what softball is like,” Anderson said. “They are their enemies on the field, but when they are free they are good friends.”

Bourdage and Allaire have been friends for years through the travel ball circuit.

Allaire admitted that the first start against Bourdage felt strange.

“We haven’t played against each other since we were 10, so it’s definitely a little weird playing against her, but it’s fun at the same time,” Allaire said.

Both pitchers showed how proud they are of each other.

“She’s one of my absolute best friends,” Allaire said. “I love her to death.”

Luckily for both of them, they can cheer each other on throughout the postseason.

No. 4 seed GHS opens postseason play in the 5A-Region 1 quarterfinals against Deltona Thursday at 7 p.m. Top seed Trenton, meanwhile, hosts No. 4 seed Newberry Thursday in the 1A-Region 4 semifinals.

Who knows, as Florida coach Tim Walton scouts both players in their first game? Perhaps in a few years, Florida fans will see both at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Noah Ram covers high school sports in the Gainesville area and University of Florida athletics for The Gainesville Sun. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him @Noah_ram1 on Twitter.