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Softball: Raiders blow away Shiloh to clinch playoff spot

The North Forsyth Raiders softball team clinched a state playoff berth with a 12-4, five-inning win over Shiloh on Wednesday at home.

“They did a good job taking what the pitchers gave them and hitting the ball hard for doubles and triples,” Raiders head coach Jim Cahill said.

Shiloh got on the board in the top of the first, when Ashlyn Canada doubled and Presley Lewis got to home plate. 

However, the Raiders were able to tie the ballgame in the home half, with Lexie Durban grounding out and Logan Currie reaching home.

In the second, Shiloh loaded the bases, but the Raiders' great defense kept the Generals from scoring a run, as Trinity Bearden struck out Lewis to end the inning.  

North Forsyth's offense started clicking in the bottom of the second inning. Abby Castleberry hit a double, bringing in Olivia Swaim to take the lead.

Mandi Peretti's at-bat continued the success for the Raiders, as Ella Rouse was able to get in for her first run. Peretti thought she had a single, but Shiloh’s outfielder committed an error. Peretti took the risk by running all the way around to score to bump the lead to 4-1.

Shiloh responded by hitting the ball towards the left side of the field for a third-inning triple that gave Hope Gunn time to get to score. 

When Bearden's pitch went way behind catcher Castleberry, Shiloh tried to score from third base. Bearden, though, was able to tag out the runner — thanks to a good play by Castleberry — to end the inning.

In the third inning, the Raiders' batting performance was nothing short of impressive.

It started with Taylor Pipkins running for a triple, and then Durban's big hit towards Shiloh’s right fielder earned her a triple and brought Pipkins home. North Forsyth tacked on another run, with Bearden’s sac fly growing the lead to 6-2.

Shiloh was able to muster up runs in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 9-4 but didn’t have enough firepower to keep the runs coming.

Instead, North Forsyth collected three more runs in the bottom of the frame, thanks to Currie’s two run triple. That invoked the run-rule.

It was a great afternoon at the plate for Currie, who went 3-for-4 to lead the Raiders in hits and in RBIs with two. 

Bearden earned the victory in the circle by allowing five hits and striking out five.

With the result, the Raiders sit at 17-7 overall and 11-3 in Region 8-6A. North Forsyth can finish no lower than fourth in the region standings, and given there is no region tournament, that guarantees the Raiders a postseason spot.

North Forsyth currently sits second in the region with four games remaining — all against other top-four teams.