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BUFORD – May 20, 2009 will forever be noted as a “Maroon Letter Day” in Buford High School girls’ athletic history.
The Lady Jackets’ softball team, in its 31st season, produced the school’s first girls’ state Class A championship as BHS completed a sweep of Johnsonville in the best-of-three series Wednesday at the Buford softball field. The Lady Jackets shut out Lower State champion Johnsonville in two games – 4-0 in the opener Monday on the Lady Flashes’ field and 7-0 Wednesday on the BHS field.
As the final out was made to BHS senior first baseman Jordan Boone, Lady Jackets’ fans exploded in emotion and rushed to greet their state champions.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” said Buford High School assistant principal JoAnn Garris. “They’ve worked hard all season and to see it all result in a state championship is great,” she said. “Winning at home is icing on the cake.”
The Lady Jackets earned the state title series berth as the Upper State champion, and the Buford girls finished its season 26-9.
Buford athletic director Sam Page was thrilled with the triumph. Page guided the Lady Jackets’ softball team before yielding the duties to head coach “C” Davis so he could devote more time to his duties as athletic director.
“This state championship is special because it’s been a long, long time in coming,” Page said. “These girls have worked hard and they deserve it.”
Page called the Lady Jackets “a bunch of battlers.”
“So many times during the playoffs, they had their backs to the wall, but they kept battling, battling and battling,” Page said. “These girls were determined to do it.”
Page also lauded the overflow partisan crowd of BHS fans who encircled the field from the first pitch to the final out.
“The support has been outstanding all season, but it was really great tonight to have all these fans in here,” Page said. “It gave us a home-field edge and the fans stayed behind the girls all the way. It gave us a lift.”
BHS principal Jonathan Phipps said teamwork was vital in the Lady Jackets’ successful season.
“This is a close-knit group of girls and they work well together,” Phipps said. “This is exciting. We had a pep rally today and the energy level was high. It’s been the talk of our school.”
Buford senior shortstop Lindsey Pressley smiled through what she called “happy tears.”
“The season’s over and that’s sad, but it feels good because we made history,” said Pressley, who had a triple, double, three RBIs and scored a run. “There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but this feeling is indescribable. It doesn’t compare to anything.”
Buford High assistant coach Dickie Hunter was sporting a wide grin after the championship game.
“We felt good about this season,” Hunter said. “There were times when it looked like our season was going to end, but we were determined to make it special. It says a lot about these girls and their drive to be state champions and make history.”
Contact sports editor Robert Howey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (803) 283-1157