Posted: Thursday, October 11th 2012 at 5:54am
Softball: Lady Wolves sweep into second round
By Jeff Hart Staff
BUFORD -– Buford softball coach Tony Wolfe didn’t want to talk about records before his Lady Wolves opened the Class AAA state playoffs Wednesday against a St. Pius team that had won just four games all season.
“We respect every opponent, no matter how many games they have won or lost,” he said before the two teams’ best-of-three series got under way at Lady Wolves Field. “We talk about thinking that anyone can beat you if you don’t respect them and not show up.”
And it was obvious the Lady Wolves were ready. They used a five-run inning in Game 1 and a seven-run inning in Game 2 to roll to a two-game sweep in 11-4 and 13-1 wins and advance to the second round.
“They improved a lot since the two games we played them earlier in the season,” Wolfe said. “But we did what we needed to do to advance. We’re still a young team so it was good to see them respond in a playoff game.”
As much as Wolfe and the Lady Wolves enjoyed their opening round win, they may have been more excited about seeing sophomore southpaw Tessa Daniels in the circle pitching two innings in Game 2.
Daniels, in her first action of the season in the circle since injuring her hamstring, looked sharp in the first inning fanning one and retired St. Pius in order. She surrendered two hits in the second but did not give up a run.
“It felt great to be back out there and have some control of the game,” Daniels said. “I struggled a little in the second inning but I’m glad Coach Wolfe let me work through it.”
“I was real pleased to see her out there and get people out,” Wolfe said. “It would mean a lot to our team to have her back at full strength if we can keep going.”
While Daniels, Emily Crocker, and Peyton Wolfe combined for a dominating performance in Game 2, Bria Bush went the distance in Game 1 for Buford allowing six hits and three earned runs to get the win.
In Game 1, St. Pius broke out on top quickly with a run in the first. Jordyn Portis walked to lead off the game and then scored on a two-out single by Natasha Sherrod.
The Lady Wolves answered immediately with two runs in the bottom of the first. Niki Cook singled and then stole second and third and scored on a single by Remington Hasty to tie the game. Jordan Deep followed with a single and Hasty would later score on a third consecutive single by Tessa Daniels for a 2-1 lead.
Buford increased its lead to 3-1 in third when Hasty doubled and later scored on a wild pitch after moving to third on a long fly ball to center by Deep. The Lady Wolves blew the game open with its five-run fourth, highlighted by a two-run single from Bailey Sexton and a towering three-run home run by Deep for an 8-1 lead.
St. Pius rallied back into the game in the sixth with xx runs on xx hits and one big Buford error. The Lady Golden Lions got a two-run single from Sherrod to trim the lead to 8-3 and were within one batter of bringing the tying run to the plate after a RBI groundout by Madison Jenkins scoring Sherrod made it an 8-4 game. But Bush got out of the inning with two strike outs.
Buford answered with three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth taking advantage of two Lady Golden Lions errors to push the lead to 11-4.
In Game 2, it was Buford that got out to the quick lead with three runs on four hits in the first inning. Deep had the big hit with a two-run single and Rude added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
Buford put the game away in the sixth sending 11 batters to the plate. Hasty, Deep, Alexus Murray, and Cook all had RBI hits and Taylor NeSmith added a two-run, pinch-hit double.
Deep paced the offense with four hits, six RBI, and three runs scored. Hasty finished with five hits, four RBI, and five runs scored, and Cook also had five hits in the series and scored five times.
“I thought we hit the ball well in spurts but I would like to see us develop a little more killer instinct,” Wolfe said.
Buford next will play host to Franklin County, which swept North Murray in the first round, next week in the second round.
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