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Central takes runner-up in region
Forsyth Central shortstop Taylor McDonnell tags out a Marist baserunner at second during the Lady Dawgs' 1-0 loss Thursday. - photo by Jared Putnam

ATLANTA — Forsyth Central had to settle for second-best on Friday.

Facing Marist in the Region 6-AAAA championship, the Lady Bulldogs struck out 16 times in a tough day at the plate, losing 3-0 to the Lady War Eagles on Marist’s home field.

Central — with one previous loss in the double elimination tournament — could have forced an immediate rematch had they won, but as it turned out, one game was enough to settle things.

Central coach Bill Richardson said it was the third game this season — and the second time in as many days — where his players struggled against junior Lori Spingola, who went the distance on the mound for Marist.

Brittney Head pitched a complete game for Central, giving up seven hits. The Lady Dawgs managed two hits against Spingola.

“They hit it so much better. I think we probably got out-coached a little bit today, too,” Richardson said. “You know, they made adjustments better than we did, and we kind of had that mental funk. We hadn’t hit her yet, and ... they came better prepared, and that’s my fault.”

The game was delayed 45 minutes, with a traffic accident on Ga. 400 holding up the Lady Dawgs’ bus.

Upon arriving at the field, Central had to essentially jump off the bus and run through a quick warmup before starting play. Still, Richardson wasn’t too eager to blame the circumstances.

“Thats not an easy thing  to do, but on the same note, they sat here and waited over an hour and a half for us. It’s one of those things [where] if you’re a competitor, you compete. To heck with the conditions.”

Eight of nine batters struck out during Central’s first trip through the lineup, with only Lauren Head making it on base from a hit-by-pitch.

Richardson said his team needed to be more aggressive early on, instead of taking pitches from Spingola, who consistently found the strike zone without a swing.

Taylor McDonnell and Lauren Head were the only batters to get a hit for Central during the game.

Marist did enough to win offensively, scoring once in the first inning on an RBI double to center from Mary Trapani (2-for-3), and plating two runs in the third.

Kristen Meier (2-for-3) hit an RBI triple with a runner on third in the third frame, while Kelly Miller helped Meier come home two at-bats later. Catcher Lauren Head missed the ball on a Miller strikeout, forcing her to throw the batter out at first, which gave Meier enough time to score.

“Bottom line is, they’re excellent. Runner-up in the region to them, there’s no shame in that. We would have liked to have pushed them a little bit more today,” Richardson said.

Central’s previous loss to Marist was a 1-0 decision on Thursday. The Lady Dawgs bounced back with an 8-0 victory over North Springs behind a no-hitter by Brittney Head, clinching the No. 2 seed.

With a second-place region finish in the bag, it’s off to the state sectionals for Central.

The Lady Bulldogs will begin play in the double-elimination North Sectional at Woodstock’s Hobgood Park this coming Friday. The first game for the Lady Dawgs is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Sports editor Jared Putnam contributed to this article.