BUFORD, Ga. — Class 7A No. 1-ranked Buford, following an undefeated regular season, was stunned on the opening day of the Georgia High School Association softball playoffs at the Buford Softball Complex on Thursday.
The regional-hosting Lady Wolves (25-1) opened the tournament with a dominating 13-0 win over Norcross. But they dropped a tough 1-0 decision to Lambert to fall into the loser’s bracket.
Against Lambert, it was a pitcher's duel between senior Clemson-commit Olivia Duncan for Buford and junior Hannah Cole for Lambert. Cole allowed just one hit on a double by Madison Pickens to lead off the game. But Pickens was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Cole then went on to strike out 12 Buford batters.
Duncan went three innings and was relieved in the fourth by freshman Caroline Stanton, who proceeded to throw four shutout innings for the Lady Wolves. Duncan and Stanton scattered 5 hits and struck out 11 Lambert batters.
The game's only run came in the second inning on a solo home run from Lambert shortstop Katelyn Boyette.
Buford will take on the Cherokee-Norcross winner at noon on Friday at the Buford Softball Complex. They will need to win three games to advance to Columbus.
Classes 7A, 5A, 3A, and Class A Division 2 all began their tournaments on Thursday. We will update as we receive more scores from Thursday night.
In Class 5A, Flowery Branch also split its opening games in a Super Regional at Cambridge.
The Lady Falcons opened with a 5-3 win over Calhoun behind a solid offensive attack, led by Casey Beaver, Alyssa Wagner, and Laney Price, who combined for six hits and two RBI, including a home run by Price. Nikki Harris got the complete-game win.
However, they dropped a heartbreaker in the second game, 1-0, to host Cambridge on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the eight. Harris went the entire way allowing just four hits and the one run while fanning 11.
Branch will get another rematch with Calhoun on Friday at 2 p.m. trying to stay alive for a spot in Columbus.
White County, meanwhile, advanced into the winner’s bracket in its Class 3A Super Regional at Sandy Creek. The Region 7-3A third-seeded Lady Warriors beat Oconee County 18-6 in the first game and then held off Ringgold 7-6 to move one win from a trip to Columbus.
Also in Class 3A, Lumpkin County dropped its opener 9-0 to Monroe Area and was set to play Carver-Atlanta trying to stay alive.
In Class A Division 2, Towns County’s season ended with a pair losses -- 15-0 to Bowdon and 12-4 to Johnson County.