GAINESVILLE — West Forsyth was stopped one game short of the state playoffs Thursday.
The Lady Wolverines gave up six runs in the first frame and never climbed back, losing to Lumpkin County 6-1 in the Region 7-AAA tournament at the Lanier Point Softball Complex.
The win clinched a state tournament spot for the Lady Indians, while West’s season ended with a 10-14 record.
West coach Byron Orr said a miscue-filled first inning set a negative tone for the rest of the game.
“That was a killer wasnt it?” Orr said of the inning.
“They didn’t hit but one ball that got to the outfield, and it hit in the dirt, and they scored six runs. You had two dropped fly balls, you had a [play where the] second baseman didn’t get to the bag to cover a double play in time, which that caused the play to be off.
“She gets to the bag quicker, you’ve got that out. Catch a fly ball at short, you got an out. And then you take that fly ball that was behind the bag, that’s three outs. They shouldn’t have scored a run.”
As it was, nine of 10 batters made it on base for Lumpkin County in the inning.
The Lady Indians didn’t score again for the game, but the damage was done.
Freshman Jesse Pearson finished the game on the mound for West, relieving Hannah Weldy at the beginning of the second inning.
Orr said the pitching change was more an effort to arrest momentum than a sign of disapproval in Weldy’s performance.
“[Weldy] really didn’t pitch so bad ... but sometimes you have to change momentum, and it’s easier to change the pitcher than it is to change the whole other infield,” the coach said with a laugh.
West got runners on base in all but one inning, but could only manage a single run, when Nikki Erdely hit into a fielders choice to bring a run home in the third inning.
McKenzie Sloan was picked off at third later in the inning, denying West another potential run.
West loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out, but couldn’t bring a run home.
“We had runners first and second a couple times, second and third, and even first and third several times, but we never could get the big hit,” Orr said, saying that the big deficit forced the Wolverines to be more conservative along the basepath throughout the game.
Orr said the Lady Wolverines showed some fight after an 0-5 start to the season, winning five of six at one point late in the schedule and playing tough in losses down the stretch.
“We put ourselves in a position [where] if we win today, we’d have went to ... the sectionals, and at least we had a shot. Last year we didn’t have a shot,” he said.