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Softball Players of the Year: Buford's Kallie Case and Lexi Overstreet

POSTED: December 3, 2011 4:58 p.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Buford High's Lexi Overstreet, right, and Kallie Case led the team to another state championship this season.

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BUFORD — Buford seniors Kallie Case and Lexi Overstreet always put on a brave face, even though the odds looked long at times. The two returning standouts for the Lady Wolves in 2011 always wanted to be able to lead by example, hoping to keep their program at a championship level, and it worked better than they could have ever imagined. The speedy middle infielder Case hit .496 this season with 62 hits, nine triples and eight home runs and set five new single-season records for the Lady Wolves. Not to be outmatched, Overstreet hit .479 this year and set new single-season school records by a wide margin this season in home runs (18), doubles (14) and RBIs (66), just to name a few.

They were clearly the driving force behind Buford going to Columbus and claiming its state-record fifth consecutive Class AA state championship. Both were four-year starters for the Lady Wolves.

"It’s impossible to replace two players that are so important to our program," Lady Wolves coach Tony Wolfe said. "They didn’t just set school records, they set them by a wide margin.

"We had two of the four, or five, best players in the entire state of Georgia on one team."

For their efforts, Case and Overstreet share honors as Times Softball Players of the Year.

These two future Southeastern Conference softball players — Case with the University of Alabama, and Overstreet with Tennessee — knew early they were going to have to set the tone for Buford, which started four freshman this season, in order to make it back to Columbus in 2011. They felt like it would be possible to win state again this year, even after losing three of their first four games this season.

According to Wolfe, Case and Overstreet never stopped working with the younger players and set a stellar example for what a veteran leader should become. Between the two, Case was the more vocal leader, always able to come up with the right words when the team needed it, while Overstreet preferred to let her actions do the talking.

Overstreet and Case both facilitated the young team’s development by changing positions very early. Overstreet moved to third base from catcher, marking her fourth position in four years. Meanwhile, Case was just as strong in her move to shortstop from third base.

"Kallie’s the most athletic player we’ve ever had in the program at Buford," Wolfe said. "She has such a presence on the field and all the players look up to her.

"Lexi is just a softball machine and has a tremendous demeanor. She’s really poised and brings a tremendous work ethic to the game."

Even with their tremendous leadership skills, repeating as state champions this season wasn’t easy. After cruising through the first two rounds of the playoffs and two wins in the field of eight teams at Columbus, Buford was dealt a tremendous setback when it lost its game on Friday night against Pike County, 3-2. With the loss, Buford was going to have to win three games Saturday to claim the state championship: a definite challenge, but one that Case knew was possible.

On top of that, Overstreet was feeling the physical effects of a sore throat.

"When we got back to our hotel on Friday night, we had a team meeting and coach Wolfe told us we were going to have to leave it all out on the field Saturday," Case said. "As a senior, I knew I was going to have to be strong in order to be able to win three games the next day."

The final day in Columbus started as well as could be expected with a 9-1 win against Blessed Trinity, earning the team a spot in the elimination game against the only other team remaining, Pike County. Coming out of the losers bracket, Buford had to beat Pike County twice to secure the state championship.

In Game 1 against Pike County, things didn’t start well: The Lady Wolves were trailing 5-0 in the top of the first inning. After narrowing the deficit to 5-3, Buford then went down by five again, 8-3. That’s when Buford kicked it into overdrive and went ahead to earn an 11-10 win. Then in Game 2, Buford left nothing to chance with a 12-2 win to set itself up in the record books as the first five-time defending softball state champion in state history.

"Just the way we won the state title this year is what made it most special," Overstreet said. "That’s the first time we had to come out of the losers bracket on Friday to win it."

And it’s safe to say that both Case and Overstreet saved their best effort for the final day of their high school career. Over the course of three games, Overstreet went 7 for 9 with three home runs and nine RBIs. Case was just as good with eight hits and four homers.

Their effort for the entire season still has Wolfe in awe.

"I’ve never seen two kids step up at such a high level for an extended period of time," Wolfe said.

 



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