Well-balanced play gave Forsyth Central the winning edge over South Forsyth in Friday night’s 9-3 win at home that boosted the Bulldogs’ chances of returning the state playoffs.
It all started the on the mound with junior pitcher Davis Smith. Smith allowed just four hits over four innings.
Smith allowed a home run to South’s Matt Bapst in the second inning. Brett Graczyk singled in a run in the third.
But otherwise, Smith kept South’s powerful lineup at bay.
“Davis has done a really fine job for us this year,” Central head coach Kevin McCollum said. “He’s done well in situations where we’ve asked him to throw strikes, and that what we asked tonight and he did it.”
Along with Smith pitching lights out, Central’s bats were also hot. Seniors Luke Sutko and Greg Wozniak had good days. Sutko went 2-for-2 with a walk and double. Wozniak had a two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning that extended the Bulldog lead to 8-2.
“They are really good players for us,” McCollum said, “but it’s not just them. All these guys have played really well, and I couldn’t ask for more.”
Central didn’t need extra base hits to get things rolling; Sutko’s and Wozniak’s doubles were the only ones.
What gave Central the edge was their baserunning. Three times the Bulldogs were able to score with runners on the corners.
“It’s huge when you’re able to convert on those types of plays,” McCollum said, “but in all honest (South) helped us a lot with those and others.”
Indeed, South had big trouble fielding the ball throughout the game. Four War Eagles errors led to three unearned runs for Central.
The errors for South started in the first when Daniel Henderson for Central tried to steal second. Bapst’s throw hit Henderson in the helmet and ricocheted into left field, allowing Parker Jones to score easily from third and five the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead – a lead they never gave up.
Central and South weren’t the only teams playing Friday night as Lambert defeated Milton, 4-2, to clinch the region title, ending Central’s hopes of sneaking up the region ranks.
“Good for them,” McCollum said. “With that being said, we now need to begin to focus up and begin to inch closer to a state tournament bid. We need to take it day by day and game by game. If we can do that then we will make it to the dance.”