Buford’s Karly Fullem hit a sacrifice fly ball to center to knock in Alysha Rudnik for the winning run in the Wolves’ 2-1, eighth-inning win against Union County in Game 2 of the Class AA State Finals on Thursday in Columbus.
Buford was afforded the opportunity to play Union County when it beat Vidalia 6-0 in the opening game of the State Finals.
Fullem was 0-for-2 against Union County, but got two RBIs: the game-winning fly in the bottom of the eighth and a squeeze bunt in the third inning that allowed Chelsie Thomas to open up scoring for Buford (23-4).
“We’re really excited to be moving on,” said coach Tony Wolfe. “Overall, I’m obviously really pleased to still be 2 and 0. The game was pretty amazing.”
Thomas was perfect at the plate going 3-for-3 — accounting for three of Buford’s five total hits — and had two stolen bases and a run scored.
Junior Samantha Ramey and sophomore Madison Wynegar both went 1-for-3 to round out Buford’s offense in Game 2.
“Offensively we didn’t do too well. We didn’t do a great job swinging the bat in that game. We really didn’t to a good job swinging all day,” said Wolfe of the team’s dawdling performance at bat.
Melissa Dickie (9-1) got the win in the circle for Buford against Union County with seven strikeouts and four walks, but allowed a lead-off home run on her first pitch of the fourth.
Dickie found herself in trouble in the top of the eighth as the Panthers put a runner in scoring position with only one out, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize as the Wolves’ junior pitcher struck out the next two batters.
“She got into some tough situations,” said Wolfe of Dickie. “(But) she found her way out of it. She really pitched tough when she had to. When it was on the line she really came through.”
Of the team as a whole Wolfe acknowledges the Wolves' shaky performance.
“When you get to Columbus you don’t get points for style,” Wolfe said. “They played really hard and kept their poise when the pressure was on.”
In Buford’s first-round win over Vidalia, Fullem led the defensive effort in the circle, striking out nine while allowing one hit and a walk in a complete-game win.
She also did her part at the plate, going 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Thomas bolstered the Buford offense against Vidalia much like she did against Union County, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored while Rudnik added a run-scoring double en route to the win.
Buford meets Cook County in the third round of the State Finals at 5 p.m. today in Columbus.