Parker Enright nearly knocked a second home run over the center wall, but instead his last-gasp swing for the fences fell short and North Forsyth succumbed to a region sweep by Johns Creek, falling 8-4 Monday night at Coal Mountain.
North (6-4, 2-2 Region 6-AAAAAA) fell behind 5-0 before it could even go up for its first at-bat, as an uncomfortable Andrew Grogan (1-1) struggled on the mound while battling soreness in his left, non-throwing shoulder.
Grogan surrendered six hits in the first frame and four earned runs, with another coming off a fielding error. He was originally in the batting lineup, but was pulled before game time. Head coach Jim Cahill feels like his senior will be day-to-day.
“It was just something that had been nagging him and it got inflamed today,” Cahill said. “(Not hitting) probably should have been a red flag to me. He’ll be fine in a couple of days.”
Meanwhile, a platoon of relief came with Charlie Edwards, Tyler Fairchild, Trevor Ryhs and Caelan Thomas. The group went to the mound and allowed just three hits the rest of the way, with Edwards logging four innings and four strikeouts. Rhys and Thomas each struck out two in a frame, respectively.
After two runs in the top of the fifth and a run off an error in the top of sixth gave the Gladiators (7-3, 4-0) an 8-0 advantage, a brief downpour of rain gave North an emotional restart.
Coming out of the weather delay, the Raiders scored two runs in the eighth off Enright’s first home run and produced three hits, including RBI-singles from Bailey Gerstner and Cory Campbell, before Enright’s last swing ended the contest.
Cahill was happy with the way his team re-focused and took back late momentum, especially considering his offense’s work in the seventh was done with two outs.
“Had we played nine we might have won,” Cahill said. “That’s just the type of kids we have. They don’t quit. We just got down early and it was kind of a shock, we hadn’t been in a situation like that all year, so that’s something we need to work on.”
Johns Creek pitcher Jonathan Horan endured the rain delay and nearly pitched a complete game, only failing to record the final out. He lasted 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits, two walks and striking out four.
North got multi-hit production from Zac Slaton (2-for-3) and Campbell (2-3, double), while pinch-hitter Paul Ackerman also crossed homeplate in the final frame. Jace Mercer, Bo Majkowski and Marcus White each had two-hit games for the Gladiators.
North will look to bounce back tonight at home against Centennial (1-8, 0-4). First pitch will be at 5:55 p.m.