The defending state champion Buford softball team will head to the championship game of the Class AA state championships for the third year in a row after defeating Cook County 6-0 on Friday night in Columbus.
The Wolves (24-4) will face off against the winner of the Cook County-Rockmart game at 11:15 a.m. today. A win clinches the state title. If Buford loses, the deciding game will be played at 1:15 p.m.
Junior Karly Fullem got the win in the circle for Buford and pitched her seventh complete-game shutout of the season and her second of the tournament.
“Fullem was her usually lights-out self,” coach Tony Wolfe said. “She had to pitch through some aches and pains from yesterday, but she was just outstanding.”
Fullem led the Wolves on both the defense and the offense with seven strikeouts, five walks and five hits allowed in the circle, and went 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.
Junior Whitney Wolfe, daughter of coach Wolfe, went 1-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for Buford. Alysha Rudnik went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and fellow senior Samantha Ramey went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
“We played so well together,” said Wolfe of his team. “It’s fun just to watch them play together like they do.”
The Wolves got off to a measured start, scoring their first run in the second inning off of a safety squeeze bunt by Wolfe, which knocked Fullem in.
Buford added another run off a single by Rudnik that allowed sophomore Kallie Case to score. The Wolves then exploded in the sixth inning and scored four runs off six consecutive hits to put the game away.
“We did some small things at first and manufactured runs,” explained Wolfe. “And we swung the bat really well late in the game.”