COLUMBUS -- No one ever said making history was easy.
But is it ever sweet.
The Buford softball team learned that very lesson on Saturday in Columbus, winning three straight games to claim a record fifth straight state championship.
After falling into the loser's bracket on Friday night, the Lady Wolves responded like champions, blasting Blessed Trinity before winning two straight against the Pike County team that had defeated Buford on Friday.
"We told the team coming into today that we had a chance to have the finest day in the history of our softball program -- and I think in many ways this was our finest moment," Lady Wolves coach Tony Wolfe said. "We knew we just had to take it one game at a time. And I felt good about the kids coming into today. I knew they would battle and that they wouldn't give up. And that's just what they did."
Buford showed its mettle in its first rematch with Pike County.
After dominating Blessed Trinity 9-1 to start the day and move into the championship series, the Lady Wolves fell behind Pike 5-0 after the top of the first inning. But after dropping a 3-2 decision to Pike on Friday, Buford wasn't about to let another contest go.
The Lady Wolves chipped away, pulling within 5-3 -- only to watch Pike extend the lead to 8-3. But the Lady Wolves fired right back, scoring five straight runs to knot the score at 8-8. Buford went on to clinch an 11-10 victory that set up an immediate rematch for the Class AA crown.
"What a great testimony that is to our kids," Wolfe said. "To not only come back and win that first game but to know that there was another game to go and never give up. I can't say enough about our senior leadership. It was just an amazing day."
The winner-take-all finale was all Buford. The Lady Wolves stormed to a 12-2 win, clinching the historic crown to pull away from the tie held with Eagles Landing Christian Academy.
"It's pretty amazing," Wolfe said. "I sent a text right after the game to every player who has been with us since this started and let them know what happened and to let them know what they had been a part of. We're truly blessed to be part of something like this."
Buford graduates eight seniors from the current team that have known nothing but state crowns. Two of them -- Kallie Case and Lexi Overstreet -- played huge roles on Saturday, crushing seven home runs between them to help pace the Lady Wolves at the plate. Case finished the day with four homers.
Case finished the day 8 of 10 in three games with seven RBIs. Overstreet also notched nine RBIs on the day. Kodi Ricketson, Madyson Wynegara and Remington Hasty also supplied plenty of key moments at the plate, with Ricketson blasting two home runs during the day's contests. Hasty, Wynegar and Tessa Daniels also had home runs on the day, while Jordan Deep also also supplied key hits in the first win over Pike County.
Daniels picked up the win in the first and third games of the day, while Bria Bush earned the victory in the 11-10 win over Pike. Daniels finished the season 17-4, pitching her sixth and seventh complete games of the campaign. Bush ended the year 12-4 with her 11th complete game.
"I can't say enough about what they did today," Wolfe said. "Kallie played amazing, and Lexi was sick all night and then had this kind of day... We had four freshmen contribute a lot this year --especially the two in the pitching circle (Bria Bush and Tessa Daniels) -- but our seniors have done such a great job sharing the core principals of what we love here. And they love this program.
"Our Columbus experience of winning four titles showed today, but more than anything, these girls showed how much passion they have for our program and that they weren't going to quit."
The Lady Wolves crushed 12 home runs over the three victories on Saturday and notched 17 over their six games at the tournament, breaking the record set by White County last year in the Lady Warriors Class AAA championship season.
Of course breaking records, is what it's all been about in 2011 for Buford softball.