Michael Sills might have thrown a complete-game 4-3 victory for North Forsyth over West Forsyth on Friday, but he admitted after the game that he still would have rather gotten the save.
Sills started off with a shaky first inning, with West scoring twice in the opening frame. However, Sills settled in to allow only five bases runners and just one more earned run over the next six innings, finishing with eight strikeouts.
“Being a closer, I think just pitching in close innings made me settle down and pitch well for the rest of the game,” Sills said.
Tyler Triche led the offense, going 3-for-3 with two home runs. Triche said after the game that he felt great at the plate and knew he needed to lead his team offensively.
“We’re gonna pitch well,” Triche said. “It’s up to the rest of the team to support those guys.”
The Wolverines took the 2-0 lead after a Robert Bottoms solo home run and Luke Fernandez RBI double. Fernandez also drove in the third and final run for the Wolverines in the top of the third with an RBI single.
“Sometimes it’s just one big swing that costs you the game,” West head coach Jim Ernst said. “[Sills] did a good job of getting us off tilt at the plate, but I thought we pitched a great game too.”
Peter Berg started the game on the mound for the Wolverines, throwing 4 1/3 innings, allowing five hits on four earned runs.
Brian Garmon II shut the door in relief, pitching the final 1 2/3 innings, retiring all five batters and striking out two of them.
Along with Triche's three hits, Josh Zirlott had a two-run double in the bottom of the first. Andrew Elkhill’s single in the first inning was the only other hit for the Raiders.
After the third inning, Garmon’s sixth-inning double was West’s only base-runner.
North (14-11, 7-6 Region 6-7A) took sole control of fourth place in the region over West with Friday’s victory. They now hold a one-game lead over West with six games left in the season.
“I think we are going to have a good shot to make the tournament,” North head coach Jim Cahill said. “As long as we keep having timely hitting, we’re gonna be in a good spot.”
North returns to region action on Monday with a game at Gainesville.
West (11-13, 6-7 Region 6-7A) now sits outside of a playoff berth with six games left in the season. The Wolverines will play every other team one more time with a chance to play spoiler for one of the four teams currently holding a berth.
“For us, everything starts on the mound,” Ernst said. “There are going to be games where we swing it really well and that’s a given. We have to keep swinging a hot bat.”
West will host Forsyth Central on Monday.