After a run of sloppiness that turned the North Forsyth softball team's early lead against West Forsyth into a deficit, despite the Wolverines having more runs than they did hits, the last thing the Raiders wanted to do was calm down.
"Everyone wanted just to get more hype and to get up more so that we wouldn't make those errors and we would make those dumb plays," North senior center fielder Haley Simpson said.
So the Raiders kept yelling, kept pounding a beat on ball buckets until their decided offensive edge over the Wolverines showed up on the scoreboard. It took until there were two outs in the sixth inning for that to happen, but North came away with a 5-3 win to open up the region schedule.
"When we got down, they could have easily just quit," Raiders head coach Jim Cahill said. "But they never gave up and (kept) fighting. It's a special group of girls."
Simpson was making her long-awaited return to facing region opponents after missing last season with a knee injury, and she alone accounted for the game's first run -- she reached on an infield single, stole second, stole third on a delayed steal and scampered home when the throw to the base sailed into left field. An inning later, Abby Martin scored on Bella Caracciolo's RBI double to give North (5-4, 1-0 Region 5-7A) a 2-0 lead.
The Wolverines made the most of two singles over the next two innings, though. Hannah Guthrie opened the second inning with a base knock and scored two batters later on an errant throw to second. Ashley Schell, who reached second on an error and third on a wild pitch, scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game. In the third inning, Kelsey Schell walked, advanced to third on Emily Kraft's single and Guthrie's walk and scored on a wild pitch to give West (2-5, 0-1) a 3-2 advantage.
North didn't rally until the sixth inning, and that one almost didn't happen. Mallorie Black reached on an error to open the inning, and Addie Harris singled to put Black on third, but Martin and Caracciolo both struck out. Guthrie put two strikes on pinch hitter Amber Jones before a wild pitch let Black score, and Jones roped a single down the third-base line to give the Raiders the lead.
"Any time we go to the bench, I've got confidence in anybody we go to and the players have confidence in anybody we go to," Cahill said. "I just felt it was the right time, and you get lucky every once in a while, I guess."
Simpson walked and scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to secure the final margin, and Sarah Lowe, who entered the game in the third for the Raiders, threw a scoreless seventh inning, stranding runners on second and third.