By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
When his final pitch smacked comfortably within his catcher’s mitt on Monday night, North Forsyth starter Tyler Fairchild’s sixth strikeout slammed the door shut on a gritty, yet undeniably solid 9-3 win at Lambert.
The Raiders took full advantage of their first game back from Spring Break to even the region standings, the win matching them with Lambert at four wins apiece.
“We got some timely hits tonight, ran the bases aggressively and that pays off,” North head coach Jim Cahill said, who’s squad finished with 12 hits and four walks while swiping 10 bags.
After a scoreless first inning, North snatched a two-run lead on a one-out single by Nicky Dalmolin, who scored soon after on a line drive by Caleb Vercek while narrowly avoiding the tag at the plate.
Lambert answered with two runs of their own in the second, pulling within one on behalf of a pair of North errors. They wouldn’t get any closer.
Three innings later, North first baseman Kyle Martin launched a 1-0 fastball from Longhorns starter Payton MacPherson over the centerfield fence for a two-run blast and broke open a four-run inning that ultimately chased MacPherson from the game.
“He threw a fastball middle-in, and I was just trying to get the barrel on it,” Martin said, who tied Dalmolin with a game-leading three RBI. “I got my hands inside of it, and a good thing happened.”
For the Raiders, what started as a sloppy, two-walk first inning gradually became an efficient, complete-game effort by Fairchild, who scattered three walks and six hits.
“I felt like all my pitches were working pretty good, I just had to settle in,” Fairchild said. “I had a good defense behind me which helped out.”
“He didn’t have his best stuff and had to battle at times, but he fought through it and did a great job,” Cahill added.
With five games left in the regular season, the two teams will swap fields on Wednesday, with North hosting the Longhorns with an opportunity for either club to climb as high as third place in the region, pending the outcome of Milton’s game.