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County softball rivals Buford and Indian Land have battled three times this spring and they will tangle again today with high stakes on the line in the Class A Upper State championship.
BHS, which defeated IL in two of the meetings, visits the Lady Warriors’ field today to decide which team advances to the Class A state championship series next week.
Buford, which defeated Landrum 10-6 in an elimination game Wednesday at the Lady Cardinals’ field, must defeat IL twice to move on. The Lady Warriors, unbeaten in the Class A Upper State title series which opened Saturday, needs one win to play for the state title next week.
Indian Land, 15-11, defeated McBee 6-2 and Landrum 2-0 behind hurler Beth Martin to earn the right to host today at 6 p.m. A second game, if needed, will be played following a short break after game one.
Buford, which fell to Landrum 3-0 in its Upstate title series opener last Saturday, stayed alive with a 6-5 comeback road win over McBee on Monday before topping Landrum in its four-run revenge road win on Wednesday.
Buford, 22-9, ignited early with a five-run first and held the upper hand to keep its postseason hopes alive.
In the BHS first, the Lady Jackets sent 11 batters to the plate.
Lindsey Pressley, Carley Bailey and Hannah Knight each drilled RBI-hits to key the frame. Jordan Boone and Kayla Lloyd each added a RBI in the rally.
“Being on the road and needing to build some momentum, we did a good job of coming out and getting some key early runs,” BHS coach “C” Davis said. “That was a big lift for us.”
Landrum answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, but BHS scored at least one run in its next three at bats to stay in control.
“The first inning was rough,” Landrum coach Tucker Hamrick said. “People probably came here expecting to see the same team we saw Saturday. But this was not the same team we saw. We played a good Buford team here tonight.
“(Buford) put the bat on the ball when they had to, and we didn’t,” he said.
Lloyd had a RBI-hit in the BHS second and the hot-hitting Knight, who had two hits, two RBIs and scored a run, laced a run-scoring triple in the Lady Jackets’ third for a 7-2 spread.
Buford kept its potent bats rolling in the fourth as winning hurler Jena Hallman, who had two hits, a RBI and scored twice, had a RBI hit. Hallman later scored on a well-executed delayed steal with Leslie Pressley.
Madisson Finley, who had two hits, a RBI and scored a run, added a RBI-hit in the three-run rally to send Buford up, 10-2.
Landrum, which finished 19-6, rallied to close the gap, but Hallman, 18-9, was able to hold the Lady Cardinals at bay, stranding 11 Lady Cardinals’ runners, nine in scoring position. Hallman struck out nine and allowed eight hits and five walks.
She was supported by a 16-hit offense, with Leslie Pressley drilling three hits, scoring twice and driving in a run.
Hallman had two hits as did Jordan Boone, Bailey, Finley and Knight. Boone drove in a run as did Bailey, who scored twice.
Lindsey Pressley had a hit, drove in a run and scored a run. Lloyd had a hit, scored a run and drove in two runs. Katie Rowell had a hit for the Lady Jackets.