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Buford comes out swinging in season opener
North Hall’s Trey Pinson tries to get out of the way of an errant pitch during the first inning of the Trojans’ Monday afternoon game with Buford High at Gerald McQuaig Field at Buford City Park.

BUFORD — It may have just been the first game of 2009, but Buford High baseball coach Tony Wolfe still left the field with a pretty good feeling about the way his club will be able to operate offensively this season. The Wolves strung together six hits with runners is scoring position en route to a 13-5 win against North Hall on Monday at Buford City Park.

"We think we have a chance to be a pretty good offensive team," Wolfe said. "I’m really excited about the way we swung the bats today, and we played pretty solid on defense too."

Those hits with runners in scoring position clearly made the difference. North Hall finished the game with only two hits with runners in scoring position, both part of a three-run sixth inning.

"We definitely squandered opportunities and Buford took advantage of theirs," North Hall coach Trent Mongero said. "That’s why we scheduled two tough non-region games early to expose our weaknesses before we start region play Friday."

The Wolves did their damage after loading the bases in first and third innings, scoring five runs in each. In the first, Buford’s starting pitcher Josh Rudnik drove in two runs with a single. With runners at second and third, courtesy runner Brandon Kinzel scored on a passed ball and Brian Clark scored on a sacrifice fly with one out.

Clark followed with an RBI single during Buford’s next five-run inning to score Kinzel from third base. Tyler White’s double scored Rudnik from third, before senior Cody Getz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Junior Dylan Stowe provided the big hit in the inning for the Wolves with a single that scored three runs.

Rudnik led the Wolves offensively going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Getz, Stowe and Michael May each added a pair of hits for Buford.

The Trojans also loaded the bases in the first and third innings. Out of that, North Hall only scored one run.

In the first, North Hall loaded the bases before an out was recorded. Rudnik responded by striking out the next two hitters, before Graham Duncan scored for North Hall when Trey Pinson was hit by a pitch with two strikes.

Rudnik recorded the final out in the first by striking out his third hitter of the game.

"That first inning was definitely the key to the game," Wolfe said. "Josh was within one pitch of getting out of that bases-loaded situation without any runs scoring, then we turned around and put five on the board."

North Hall junior shortstop K.J. McAllister picked up right where he left off last season, going 3-for-3 with a double and two sixth-inning RBIs. Trojans senior Davis Partrick followed with an RBI single in the sixth to score McAllister.

Nathan Strong finished the game 2-for-4 for North Hall.

Buford plays host to Flowery Branch at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. North Hall faces North Forsyth at 5:55 p.m. on Wednesday at Piedmont College in Demorest.

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