COLUMBUS -- Buford softball is back in very familiar territory -- a state title game.
The five-time defending Class AA champ Lady Wolves marched into the Class AAA title game on Friday courtesy a 7-0 victory over Central, Carroll at the Elite Eight softball playoffs in Columbus.
As has been the case for much of the season, pitcher Bria Bush dominated for the Lady Wolves, shutting down Central in a complete game effort, striking out nine while allowing just two hits and one walk. Bush (21-2) now has 31 strikeouts in two days in Columbus.
Meanwhile, Tessa Daniels helped lead Buford at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored. Jordan Deep also had a double and an RBI, and Niki Cook went 3-for-5 with two runs and two stolen bases. Bekah Rude also delivered two hits, as the Lady Wolves put up two runs in the first inning before running away with four more runs in the seventh.
Buford will wait to take on the winner of the Central vs. Ringgold elimination game (which begins at 10 a.m.) in Saturday's title tilt in Columbus. The Lady Wolves will play for title No. 6 beginning at noon on Field No. 1 -- if they were to lose, the second game of the championship series (in the double elimination tournament) is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, the area's other two representatives saw their state playoff runs end on Friday, as Jackson County won two games but dropped the third to get eliminated in Class AAA, while Lumpkin County was defeated in Class AAAA.
The Lady Panthers edged Jackson High 3-2 in their first game of the day then defeated Pike County 2-1 but fell to Ringgold 3-2 in their third game of the day to be eliminated.
In Class AAAA, Lumpkin County saw its playoff run end in a 5-0 defeat to Columbus. The Lady Indians had already fallen to South Effingham, 4-0, on Thursday in the double elimination bracket.
Both Lumpkin and Jackson County were making their first trips to Columbus in more than a decade.