A big second inning at the plate and strong pitching from Logan Howard helped Forsyth Central to an 11-6 home win over Kell on Thursday night. The win gave the Bulldogs leverage atop the Region 7-AAAAA(B) standings.
Central (12-6, 11-3) now holds the tie-breaker over Kell thanks to wins against the Longhorns Wednesday and Thursday. Central held a larger lead in the region before dropping two consecutive games to North Atlanta last week.
Central head coach Kevin McCollum isn’t looking at those numbers. He’s just planning on winning the next game.
“I guess it gives us two games on Kell in the series,” McCollum said after the big win. “But our plan is just about playing the best game we can tomorrow and we’ll worry about next week next week.”
With a leg up in the region, the Bulldogs have just a series left with last place North Springs before the regular season ends.
Howard got off to a fast start against the Longhorn batters, striking out the first three batters he faced. He finished with eight strikeouts against four scattered hits and three walks in five innings pitched.
“(Howard) threw really well today,” McCollum said. “I don’t know if he had any earned runs, he gave us a good start, he’s done a good job all year.”
Howard did not give up any runs to his name, but three runs were scored during his time on the hill thanks to three errors on the Bulldogs fielders.
Trailing 6-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Kell’s Carson Hughes and Josiah Futral each reached on errors before leadoff hitter Jackson Jones brought them both home on a two-RBI double. Jones then came home on what would have been an inside-the-park homerun, but the Bulldogs managed to throw out Jared Donald at home.
It felt like a turning point in the game for Kell, but after the out at home reduced the damage, the Bulldogs scored two more runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to relax those in attendance once more.
“It was the first time in a few games we actually hit the ball, and we kept talking about putting all three phases of the game together, but we had a couple of errors that let them back in the game. If you take those away, we might have gotten out of there a little easier, but what’s important is our kids responded,” McCollum said.
Central took a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the second, scoring three of those runs off passed balls or walks. Parker Biederer had a sacrifice RBI in the same frame, while Hunter Bauman had an RBI single.
Bauman finished 3 for 3 at the plate with a first inning-homerun and two RBIs, though he nearly had a third with Biederer on third in the bottom of the sixth, but a passed ball brought him home before Bauman’s single. Biederer reached in the sixth on a triple and went 2 for 4 in the game.
Parker Morrison closed out the game for Central, logging two strikeouts in two innings.