DUNWOODY — Forsyth Central’s long postseason drought has come to an end.
The No. 4 seed Lady Bulldogs picked up their first state playoff game win since 2005 — when a sectional format was still in place — as they swept No. 1 seed Dunwoody 3-1 in Game 1 and 4-1 in Game 2 of the opening round of the Class 5A tournament on Wednesday at the Wildcats’ field.
Central coach Bill Richardson said it’s been even longer since the Lady Bulldogs earned multiple wins and moved on in the postseason.
"This is as far as we’ve advanced since the old slow pitch days," Richardson said. "We’re very happy with taking advantage of this first round shot. Hopefully we can keep things together and keep rolling."
Central (17-16) jumped out to early 3-0 leads in each game, which proved to be more than enough run support for starting pitchers Caroline Thomas and Carrlyn Kiser. Both pitchers tossed a complete game, as Thomas (7 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 0 BB, 1 K) picked up the win in Game 1 and Kiser (7 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 5 BB, 8 K) earned the victory in Game 2.
"Carrlyn was lights out," Richardson said. "Eight strikeouts — that’s a lot of balls not put in play.
"We did a really good job defensively, just making the plays we were supposed to make. We had some really nice defensive plays."
Junior Rachel Karlan provided much of the Lady Bulldogs’ offensive production and finished the doubleheader 5-for-7 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Central’s first three batters came around to score in Game 1, as Karlan launched a three-run shot over the left field fence in the first inning, after Lexi Bump (3-for-6, RBI, R in 2 games) walked and Jessica Dunn reached on an infield single.
"She’s a good one," Richardson said of Karlan. "She really makes things easy for us."
Dunwoody (21-10) answered in the bottom of the inning courtesy of an RBI single by pitcher Stacey Ward, but Thomas retired seven Wildcats in a row after that hit.
The Lady Wildcats put two runners on base with two outs in the fourth, but Thomas induced an inning-ending ground out and allowed only one batter to reach base in each of the final three innings.
It took Central a little bit longer to get on the scoreboard in Game 2, but the Lady Bulldogs’ bats delivered another three-run inning. Olivia Brasher (3-for-6, R in 2 games) led off the third with a single and scored on a single by Bump that led to an error.
Taylor Alton followed with an inside-the-park home run to center and, after a single by Karlan and a double by Dunn, Marisa Hull lifted a sacrifice fly to boost the lead to 3-0.
Hull delivered another insurance run on an RBI single to center in the fifth after Dunwoody cut the lead to 3-1.
The Lady Bulldogs will travel to No. 10-ranked South Paulding (24-10-1) when the second round begins next week.
"We’re just real hopeful that anything can happen at this point," Richardson said. "We have beaten some pretty good teams this year."