Any criticism of Forsyth Central’s record requires deeper investigation.
At least that’s what head softball coach Paul Cromie thinks.
On paper, it looks as though the Bulldogs are limping out of the gate. They’ve lost more games than they’ve won, and Tuesday’s 8-0 win against West Forsyth is just their fourth victory in 11 chances.
“We’re 1-7 in our two tournaments we played,” Cromie said. “But if anybody wants to take the time to read up on those tournaments, we went up to the Dalton Lady Cat Classic and three of the four teams we played are defending state champs in their classification.”
Indeed, one of those losses came at the hands of defending Class 4A champ Heritage, and the other against last year’s Class 1A winner Gordon Lee.
But Central (7-9, 3-0 Region 5-7A) also earned its most impressive win during that stretch when the Bulldogs knocked off reigning Class 6A champion Harrison, 4-0, on Saturday.
Now, Cromie believes Central is ready for region play.
“That schedule this year, I had control of it. And with nine seniors coming back I wanted the opportunity to get punched in the mouth, so to speak, and see what we’re made of before we really got into the nitty-gritty of region play,” Cromie said.
Junior Bailey McCachren dominated the Wolverines for six shutout innings Tuesday before the game was called due to exceeding the time limit.
The game was moved up to 5 p.m. and played at Forsyth Central High School instead of West Forsyth because of the afternoon rain.
“I thought we had some good hacks, put some balls in play and put a little pressure on her,” West Forsyth coach Justin Rickett said. “We’ve got to find a way to continue to do that. We had a couple too many strikeout lookings.”
One notable punchout came in the top of the third inning, when the Wolverines had a runner on third base with just one out.
McCachren buckled down and struck out one batter, then got another to ground out, stranding the runner at third and preserving a 1-0 lead.
Cromie said McCachren’s arsenal of weapons is what makes her so difficult to face.
“She has good velocity, but her pitches; she throws a screw, she throws a rise, she throws a drop,” Cromie said. “She’s really worked and spent time on her changeup, which if you add that to your repertoire it’s pretty nasty.”
West pitcher Maria Luce matched McCachren for much of the game before Central used a four-run fifth inning to pull away.
Sydney Moroney started the rally with a one-out walk before Lauren Wall’s single moved her to second base. Luce intentionally walked Caraline Bryant to load the bases, then hit McCachren to score a run.
A wild pitch plated another, and a tough error on West third baseman Jenna Harris allowed two more runs to score.
West (2-10-1, 0-3 Region 5-7A) lost several players to graduation after last year’s playoff appearance, but Rickett knows his team can compete this year.
“Jenna Harris is swinging the bat well, Grace Mangan has been playing well, Maria has been pitching well, and I thought she pitched well today,” Rickett said. “We just didn’t make a play or two behind her.”