COLUMBUS -- Buford softball moved two wins away from its seventh straight state championship on Thursday, knocking off Central of Carrollton and Ringgold in its first two contests at the Class AAA championship tournament in Columbus.
The Lady Wolves edged Central 3-2 before putting Ringgold away 10-2 in five innings to earn a spot in Friday's Class AAA semifinal against Oconee County.
Commerce, meanwhile, stumbled in its opening game of the Class A public championships, taking an 8-0 defeat to Gordon-Lee. The defeat dropped the Lady Tigers into the elimination bracket, where they must face Hawkinsville at 9 a.m. Friday.
Buford, meanwhile, kept its unblemished playoff mark going thanks in part to back-to-back complete game performances from Bria Bush. The standout allowed just 10 total hits and three earned runs on the day, striking out nine total batters and walking just four. Bush moved to 15-1 on the season with the wins.
The Lady Wolves had several heroes at the plate during the night, including Morgan Walters, who helped crack open the Ringgold battle with a grand slam in the bottom of the second -- an inning in which Buford scored six runs to take a 7-0 lead in a rematch of last year's Class AAA championship game.
Walters finished the game 3-for-3 with five RBI, while Tessa Daniels and Jordan Deep each had a hit and two RBI. Niki Cook also went 1-for-2 and scored three runs, as Buford racked up 10 hits in its second game.
Sydney Stavro helped ensure the win in the opener in Columbus, producing a two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Baylee Sexton followed with an RBI single to give the Lady Wolves all their scoring in the contest. Cook also went 1-for-3.
Buford is scheduled to play Oconee County at 5 p.m. Friday.