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Buford crushes Temple to sweep first-round series

BUFORD -- Buford rode the momentum of a 14-0 five-inning win in Game 1 right into a 16-0 three-inning rout in Game 2 as the Wolves completed the sweep of Temple in the first round of the Class AA state baseball playoffs Friday.

With the series win, Buford (18-10) advances to the second round next week against the winner of Swainsboro-Morgan County.

"I thought we had a good day and I thought our kids played hard and sharp even with the big leads," Buford head coach Tony Wolfe said. "We ran the bases well and took advantage of every chance we got. That was the thing we wanted to do coming in, put pressure on them and get off to a fast start. We established that and I was really proud of them. Two good wins in the playoffs and we get to move on."

Buford took control in Game 1 by scoring three runs in the first and seven more in the second to race out to a 10-0 lead.

In the first, Josh Bryan (2-for-4, two RBI) doubled home Austin Upshaw and Brian Malone singled home Bryan and Mikey Bart to lift Buford to the 3-0 lead.

Buford exploded in the second to take the 10-run advantage.

Upshaw (3-for-4, two RBI, three runs) singled in Clay Gant, Kyler Berrett's groundout scored Shawn Reynolds (2-for-4, two runs, RBI) and Josh Bryan doubled in Upshaw to make 6-0.

Mikey Bart (2-for-3, RBI) followed with a double to score Bryan, Joey Bart tripled home Mikey Bart and Malone and a Temple error allowed Kayden Berrett to cross home for the 10-0 Buford lead.

Buford added its final four runs in the fourth.

Joey Bart (2-for-3, three RBI) hit a solo homer, then Reynolds ripped a double to score Gant.

Upshaw singled in Reynolds and Kyler Berrett (2-for-4, two RBI) chased home Upshaw to run the lead out to 14-0.

Buford finished with 14 hits in the game and stranded just five on base.

Meanwhile, Sam Clay went the distance and allowed just a third-inning single to Tyler Summerville.

Clay struck out eight to run his season total to 81, but did walk five in the contest.

Three of those free passes came in the second inning with Buford holding a 3-0 lead.

But Clay settled down and struck out Jake Vaught and Phillip Chandler to keep the shutout and the margin at three runs.

Clay (5-2) allowed just three base runners the rest of the way.

"It got away from Sam a little bit in that inning," Wolfe said. "To his credit, he found his release point and showed some poise. It was a big point in that first game because if they get two or three runs there, who knows what happens."

In Game 2, Buford sent 18 batters up and pushed home 14 runs in the top of the first inning before Temple (12-15) had sent a batter to the plate.

The big blast came after seven runs had already scored when Upshaw belted a grand slam over the left-field fence to increase the lead to 11-0.

Buford eventually added three more runs and put the game away.

Ten Buford players scored runs and seven different players drove in runs for the Wolves, who stranded just four on base.

Upshaw drove in four on the grand slam while Reynolds, Kyler Berrett (2-for-2), Malone and Joey Bart (2-for-2) each drove in two for Buford.

Patrick Burnette, Reynolds (2-for-2) and Mikey Bart (2-for-2) each drove in one run for the Wolves.

Upshaw got the win on the mound for Buford even though he went just two innings. The right-hander allowed two hits and struck out two.

"I thought Austin did a good job of coming in and throwing strikes after we gave him 14 runs in the first inning," Wolfe said. "He didn't let down and pitched well even with the big lead."

Ryan Bramlett came on to work a scoreless third inning and struck out one as Temple managed just two hits in the second game and three total for the double-header.