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Athlete of the Week: Buford's Karly Fullem
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Honor Roll

Volleyball

Kathryn Bell, North Hall: Had 40 assists and eight aces in three wins.

Taylor Cramsey, Jefferson: 46 kills and five aces in four wins and two losses.

Amanda Daniel, Jefferson: Had 77 assists in four wins and two losses.

Liz Darden, Buford: Had 112 digs in nine matches.

Jenna Falletta, Buford: Had 37 assists in four matches.

Lauren Gregory, North Hall: Had 15 kills, 7 aces and 16 digs in three wins.

Cassie Metcalf, Jefferson: Had 34 kills and 18 aces in four wins and two losses.

Sarah Paschall, North Hall: Had 21 digs, six kills, an ace and a block in three wins.

Maggie Roper, Buford: Had 66 kills and 34 digs in nine matches over the week.

Softball

Amberly Andrew, Habersham Central: Drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a win Monday.

Kallie Case, Buford: Had six hits, two triples, three runs scored and two RBIs in five wins in the Buford Invitational.

Melissa Dickie, Buford: Earned two wins with 18 strikeouts on the week.

Nicole Long, Chestatee: Threw all six innings, giving up four hits and two runs, in a win Tuesday. Also had two hits in the game.

Miranda Miller, West Hall: Pitched a complete game, striking out five and giving up only two hits in a win Tuesday. Also added two hits in the game.

Ashley Payne, Chestatee: Went 3-for-4 with three doubles in a win Tuesday.

Morgan Strickland, West Hall: Had two hits and three RBIs in a win Tuesday.

Cross Country

Cody Barger, North Hall: Set a 5K course record of 16 minutes at the Northeast Georgia Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Athens Christian.

Sara Hayes, Gainesville: Took first place overall with a time of 12 minutes, 45 seconds at the Athens Academy Tune Up 3K run Thursday.

BUFORD— While the No. 1 Buford High football team is known for its winning history, the Wolves aren’t the only three-time defending state champions prowling the school campus. The No. 1-ranked Lady Wolves softball team has won three in a row as well, and at an early season record of 9-1, have their eyes on a fourth.

A large part of that dominance is senior Karly Fullem.

“She’s honestly a big part of our team,” coach Tony Wolfe said. “You know, she’s very talented. We think she’s awfully good as a pitcher and she’s been doing it for us for a long time.”

Fullem started this year much the way she has started every year in high school: winning. She is 5-0 this season from the pitching circle, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Over the last week, Fullem recorded three complete-game wins, striking out 23 and surrendering just two runs, as Buford defeated Providence Christian, West Forsyth and Woodstock en route to winning the Buford Invitational.

For her performance, Fullem is The Times’ Athlete of the Week.

“I think most of it was my location,” Fullem said of her week’s success in the circle. “I was hitting my spots with all my pitches. It was fun to get back out there and play high school ball.”

During the spring and summer, Fullem plays with a local travel softball team and credits the excitement of playing with her school friends again as one of the reasons she has started so well.

“A lot of these girls I’ve played with since I was about 5,” she said. “Like Chelsie (Thomas), I’ve played with her since I was 5.

“They’re my friends and I love playing with them.”

With a team that is close, winning is supposed to come easier. That has certainly been proven true over the past three years, as the Buford softball team has won three consecutive Class AA state championships. The current group of seniors is 101-14 over their high school careers.

Fullem has known nothing but winning since she joined the team as a freshman starting pitcher in 2007. And while winning is the goal, one drawback of reaching that goal is that the pressure to win is ever increasing.

“We’ve won all of my years here, so there is a lot of pressure,” Fullem said. “Each year it’s a different team and you feel pressure to keep winning.”

Despite the precedent, and pressure, Fullem doesn’t believe she would be disappointed if the Lady Wolves didn’t win another title.

“Not if I knew that we were playing our best,” she said. “You always want to give 100 percent so that you don’t feel like you left anything out. You want to do your best.”

It is just such an attitude that Wolfe feels is one of Fullem’s many strong points.

“She’s really about everything you could ask for in a kid to coach,” Wolfe said.

When asked, Fullem believes that it is her ball control in the circle that allows her to win with such frequency.

“I don’t throw as hard as other people, so I work a lot on my spins and location,” Fullem said.

It is much simpler than that to Wolfe, who believes that Fullem’s dependability in the circle comes down to “her confidence and poise.”

“She threw a complete-game shutout in her first start in the state tournament as a freshman,” Wolfe said. “Winning a 1-0 game as a freshman takes an unbelievable amount of inner confidence and poise, and she’s been doing that all along. She is 6-0 with one run allowed in six games in (the state tournament). So you know she’s really a great pressure player, too.”

Fullem isn’t the only Buford player who has delivered so far this season.

Melissa Dickie, who alternates starts in the circle with Fullem, is 4-1 with four complete games and 36 strikeouts in 2010. The senior has an earned run average of 1.73, which goes nicely with Fullem’s 0.21 and means the Lady Wolves seem to be almost unhittable.

At the plate, Kallie Case has gotten off to a hot start. The junior is hitting .593 on the season with 16 hits, 16 runs scored, seven RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

In the Buford Invitational alone, Case hit .647 to lead the Lady Wolves to the tournament win.

While Fullem is only batting .219 so far this season, (seven hits, three RBIs, four stolen bases), her bat is what has gotten her a scholarship to Georgia Tech, where she committed last January. For the Lady Yellow Jackets, Fullem will play first base and possibly see time as a relief pitcher.

Wolfe pays no mind to low batting numbers, saying simply “she comes up with the big hit and she does what’s necessary. She’s hitting in the five hole and that tells you a little something about her unselfishness. She just wants to do whatever she can to help the team win.”

“She’s really good defensively too,” Wolfe added.

Whether it’s in the circle or at first base, Fullem will next take the field today as the Lady Wolves visit Class AAAAA’s East Cowetta. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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