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Softball: North clinches region tournament's top seed with win over West

MacKenzie Marvin is a key senior for North Forsyth’s softball team, but even she knows she’s not much of a power threat.

That changed, if just for a moment, during the Raiders’ regular season region finale against West Forsyth on Thursday afternoon. With North trailing in the third inning, she blasted a ball over the left field fence and hit the scoreboard with a loud thud.

“I’m not really a home run hitter,” Marvin said. “Normally when I get a hit, they’re just base hits, so it was kind of crazy being a senior and coming in the clutch for my team.”

Marvin’s hit was the turning point for the Raiders on Thursday evening, as they scored two more runs and took advantage of West’s inability to get runners across for a 3-1 win.

The victory guaranteed North the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Region 5-7A tournament, with South Forsyth losing to Forsyth Central on Thursday. For Marvin, being in that prime position has been a long time coming.

“As a senior, we’ve never really even come close to it,” she said. “I know the upperclassmen are definitely super pumped for a chance to go to state. We’re just a different team – we’re jelled together, we’re having so much fun. It’s really awesome.”

Before Marvin’s home run, it was West that was in good position. After a bunt from Avery Wassilchak turned into an error, Gracie Martin executed another bunt during the next at-bat to bring Bailee Martin home from third, giving the Wolverines an 1-0 lead in the second.

They could have done much more damage than that, though – West loaded the bases with one out during that same frame, only to leave all its runners on. The same scenario repeated itself for the Wolverines in the third with two outs. For the game, the Wolverines left 11 runners stranded.

“I knew my defense had my back,” North pitcher Hailey Mize said. “They were talking to me the whole time so that kind of chilled me out a little bit. In those kinds of situations, I’m pretty good under pressure like that, but my defense helped me a lot.”

After Marvin’s home run tied the game at 1-1, Mallorie Black hit a double off the left field wall later in the third to bring in Adaline Nix, who reached on a single. Black completed her 2-for-3 day with an RBi double in the fifth that brought home an insurance run in McKayla Cothran.

The Raiders also flashed the leather a couple of times, particularly on a diving play by Anslee Anderson in the sixth.

“We played great defense,” North head coach Jim Cahill said. “Their (pitcher) did a great job. We got some clutch hits with some girls on and that was really the difference in the game.”

Mize finished her night with five strikeouts, allowing two walks and six hits in her winning effort. West starter Hannah Guthrie struck out two over her seven innings of work.