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Baseball: Big sixth inning propels North Forsyth past Lambert

Down two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning of Wednesday night’s game against Lambert, the North Forsyth baseball team looked to be on their way to a Region 5-7A loss at the worst time.

Two innings later, North junior Miles Hartsfield belted a fly-ball to centerfield, playable for the Lambert outfield yet deep enough to score the 12th and final unanswered run of the frame for a 15-5 win in six innings and a season sweep of the Longhorns. 

“We’re just being aggressive,” North head coach Jim Cahill said. “We’re aggressive at the plate, aggressive on the bases, and it’s creating runs because of it.” 

With back-to-back wins over Lambert, in addition to Milton’s loss Wednesday to Central, the Raiders suddenly find themselves in third place with three of their final four games against the pair of teams ahead of them. 

“One at a time—that’s all we look at,” Cahill said. “I’m not looking at the standings. I’m just worried about the next game.”

Both teams’ starting pitchers ran into early trouble and both lineups took equal advantage, exchanging leads four times in the first four innings.  

Lambert struck first, scoring one in the first on a single by Carter Ballstadt. The Raiders wasted no time answering, scoring three runs of their own on a pair of singles by Kyle Martin and Evan Johnson. The Longhorns added one in the second and two more in the fourth, seizing a 5-3 lead.

They were the final runs Lambert scored. North chased Longhorns starter Aidan McAllister in the fourth inning after Colin Sanders’ one-out, two-run single tied the game at 5-5. Three batters later, North third-baseman Evan Johnson launched his first pitch of the inning high, deep and squarely against the right-field fence, scoring three and breaking open the game. 

“(Their starter) threw a really good curveball, but he couldn’t throw it for a strike,” Johnson said. “So we were just waiting on that fastball, and when he threw it we attacked it.” 

Johnson batted in a game-leading, five runs, finishing for the second-consecutive game as one of multiple Raiders with at least two RBI. 

“The beginning of the season I struggled a little bit, so I’ve been in the cages working hard,” Johnson said. “It’s finally starting to pay off for me.”

In addition to a successful night at the plate, North benefitted greatly from four innings of scoreless relief from Brice Davis. The Berry College commit allowed just one hit and struck out six in support of Westbrook.

“Honestly, I was just putting strikes in the right places and had the bats behind to help me out,” Davis said.