Posted: Wednesday, October 17th 2012 at 10:21pm
Softball: Franklin pushes Buford to Game 3
By Jeff Hart Staff
BUFORD -– Franklin County pushed five-time state champion Buford to a decisive Game 3 Wednesday in the two teams’ Class AAA second round playoff series.
The Lady Lions used a seven-run second inning to take control and then finished off an 8-0 win in six innings in Game 2 after Buford had taken Game 1, 4-0, on the strength of a four-run sixth to break a scoreless tie.
The final game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at Lady Wolves Field.
“That’s a very good team,” Buford coach Tony Wolfe said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us. They strung some hits together in the second game and we made some mistakes we don’t usually make and that hurt. But we’ll be ready (Thursday).”
Franklin’s Taylor Waldrop held Buford in check in Game 2 surrendering just one hit and fanning two in four innings to get the win.
Buford (27-3) got the win in Game 1 behind Bria Bush, who struck out nine and scattered just three hits and walked none in a complete-game effort.
Franklin County coach Jason Oliver said they got what they came for.
“We were hoping for a split and we got it,” Oliver said. “We just wanted to put ourselves into a position to something we haven’t done in a while.”
Experience could play a factor Thursday. Buford won the last five Class AA titles while the Lady Lions (25-10) already have advanced the farthest since they finished fifth in 2003.
“Well hopefully that can help us,” Wolfe said. “We’ll pitch Bria again and she has pitched in big games before.”
“We don’t know who we’re going to pitch right now. We’ll see where we are when we get to the park (tomorrow),” Oliver said. “This is new for this team so we’ll see how they respond.”
In Game 1, Buford had the first scoring chance loading the bases in the bottom of the first on a hit batter and two one-out walks. But Leigh Beatenbough struck out Daniels and got Rebekah Rude to ground out to third to end the threat.
It stayed that way through five innings as both pitchers dominated. Bush fanned eight and retired 15 of the first 17 batters. Beatenbough yielded just one hit and walked four while striking six.
The Lady Wolves, the 7-AAA champion, finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth with four runs on five straight hits. Remington Hasty singled and moved to third on Jordan Deep’s double to center with no one out. Daniels then doubled off the glove of first baseman Mary Burrell driving in both runs for a 2-0 lead. Daniels then scored on a bunt single by Rude and a throwing error. Rude scored on a sacrifice fly by Noah Sudderth.
In Game 2, Franklin County, the second seed from 8-AAA, jumped on starter Tessa Daniels in the second inning. The Lady Lions pounded out five hits to go with three uncharacteristic Buford errors, to score seven times, the single biggest inning against the Lady Wolves this season.
It began with a triple by Taylor Waldrop, who scored on a single by Cassie Hall. Hall would score on an error and Mary Burrell, Meagan Lovell, and Kendsey Chappalear each added RBI hits. The Lady Lions invoked the Mercy Rule in the sixth Carli Hurtado drove in Caty McCauley for the game-winning run.
In other Region 7-AAA action, Dawson County, the third seed from 7-AAA, saw its title hopes end in Ringgold. The Lady Tigers lost 1-0 and 11-0 to Ringgold in their best-of-three series.
In Class AA, 8-AA champion Jefferson split a doubleheader with Dade County Wednesday. The Lady Dragons dropped the first game 3-0 but rebounded with a 7-4 win in the second game to force a deciding third game on Thursday.
In Class AAAAAA, North Gwinnett's season came to an end after being swept by Archer 5-1 and 7-2 at home.
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