COLUMBUS - It was an unfamiliar situation in the dugout for Tony Wolfe and his Buford team after their game Friday in the Class AA state semifinals.
For just the second time with Wolfe at the helm, Buford lost a game in Columbus, falling to Pike County 3-2 at the South Commons Softball Complex.
"It certainly is a reality check," Wolfe said. "You have to tip your hat to Pike County. They played well and we probably needed to make some adjustments that we didn't in the batter's box, but the credit goes to them."
Buford (31-11) plays Blessed Trinity at 9:15 a.m. today. The winner will need to beat Pike County twice to claim the state title.
The Lady Wolves had a 2-1 lead in the third, but Pike County would manufacture a run to tie things up after their leadoff hitter singled and was moved over on a sacrifice. She would later score on a fielder's choice before a 9-5-4 putout ended the inning.
The winning hit came the next inning on a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
Wolfe tried to switch things up in the final three innings, replacing starting pitcher Tessa Daniels with fellow freshman Bria Bush and subbing in backups in the bottom half of the order after it went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts to start the game, but the Lady Wolves would come up short.
"I thought changing the look would give us a chance to get through the top of their order one time and give us a shot to win it late," Wolfe said of the pitching change.
"It would have worked out, but we just didn't get that one big hit we needed."
Buford would get two runners on in the sixth and seventh, but were unable to get the tying or go ahead run across the plate.
Lexi Overstreet walked in the sixth, followed by an error by the shortstop, but a fly out to left and a ground ball to first would end the inning.
Rebekah Rude pinched hit for Aly Hicks in the seventh and would reach on another error by the Pike County shortstop and Alexis Baldy, pinch hitting for Jazmin Hawkins, also reached on an error on what would have been a sacrifice bunt. The Buford rally would be cut short after a fly out and strikeout.
"Some of it was that we didn't execute as well as we want to, some of it was just the breaks and some of it was youth," Wolfe said.
"We just have to turn around and regroup and get ready to win three tomorrow."