Posted: Saturday, October 27th 2012 at 7:52pm
SIX-TIME CHAMPS: Buford softball claims yet another title
By Jeff Hart Staff
COLUMBUS – Different classification, same outcome for the Buford girls softball team.
The Lady Wolves won their sixth straight state championship Saturday, holding off Ringgold 4-0 in the Class AAA title game at the Olympic Softball Complex. It was their first in Class AAA after winning five straight in Class AA before moving up in 2012.
And it was the same formula of success for Buford as in Class AA: solid pitching, good defense, and timely hitting. But it was the pitching of Bria Bush that was the driving force behind this year’s state title.
Bush was dominating scattering two hits and not allowing a runner past first base while fanning seven in a complete-game effort. The sophomore right-hander had to take on a heavier work load with Tessa Daniels still recovering from a hamstring injury.
She allowed just one run in four games in the Elite 8 round.
“Bria was outstanding and showed she is one of the best pitchers in the state at any level,” Buford coach Tony Wolfe said. “Overall it was as good a performance over the three days of anyone here. To only allow one run is remarkable. But that’s what we needed her to do and she stepped up.”
“I knew I didn’t have Tessa to back me up but really I knew the whole team was behind me,” Bush said. “I just wanted to get ahead of the hitters. It feels great to be able to win the state title.”
Wolfe said it never gets old and it’s never easy.
“Really it wasn’t about a sixth title. It was really about this team. We had a lot of new faces and girls who had not won one. So to see them step up and come through and win it is exciting. I feel happy for them,” he said. “Ringgold is a solid team and really this game could have gone either way. We got some big hits when we needed them.”
Buford finished the 2012 playoffs with an 8-1 record and kept a streak alive of not having lost more than one game in the playoffs during their six-year title run. The one run allowed at the Elite 8 level was the fewest since the 2008 team, which featured Melissa Dickie and Karly Fullem.
The championship round matched what had been the top two teams in Class AAA for most of the season. Buford was ranked No. 1 and Ringgold No. 2 at the end of the regular season.
Ringgold advanced to the championship round with a 4-2 win over Central, Carroll in the semifinal elimination round Saturday morning..
In the championship game, Buford wasted little time jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Niki Cook singled to lead off and then scored on a two-out single by Daniels for a 1-0 lead.
It stayed that way until the third when Remington Hasty singled to start and then Jordan Deep drilled a long home run to left field for a two-run home run and a 3-0 lead.
"That was a huge hit for us," Wolfe said. "It kind of settled some of the girls down and Bria seemed to get tougher after that."
Meanwhile, Bush was in a groove. After surrendering two hits in the first two innings, she retired 12 of the next 13 batters through the fifth inning, including five strike outs.
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