It wasn't a question of whether any Forsyth County softball teams would qualify for the state tournament — it was a question of which two would do it.
South Forsyth, West Forsyth, North Forsyth and Lambert all won their opening round games at the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament on Saturday at Fowler Park, pitting South against North and West against Lambert less than an hour later in the second round and guaranteeing two of them an automatic berth in the Class 6A state tournament.
When the dust settled it was South and West who clinched spots in the postseason, and they did it in two entirely different fashions. The Lady War Eagles followed a 16-0 victory over Centennial with a 15-3, mercy rule shortened win over North, while West rallied to beat Lambert 3-2 on the heels of a 5-3 comeback win over Alpharetta.
West (16-11) received a solid pitching performance from Avery Migues against Alpharetta, but was forced to rally for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure the victory.
Pitcher Maci Fletcher was also efficient for the Wolverines against Lambert, but the Lady Longhorns jumped ahead 2-0. The Lady Wolverines scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the third inning courtesy of a Lambert throwing error and a two-run single to left by Angie Jordan.
West has now won six games in a row after losing four straight in the middle of September.
"I hope we're playing our best ball right now," West coach Justin Rickett said. "The kids have worked hard and we went through a little tough stretch, and they showed their resiliency and battled through some tough things. They've done a good job today; they've done a good job the last week and a half."
While the Lady Wolverines are making their first trip to the state playoffs since 2010, the Lady War Eagles are returning to the postseason for the first time since 2009.
After dispatching winless Centennial, South (16-10-2) fell behind 1-0 against North before responding with 14 unanswered runs.
The Lady War Eagles did the bulk of their scoring during an eight-run second inning in which they sent 12 batters to the plate. Caitlyn Reeves and Shea Smith reached base twice during the inning, while Frankie Catinella (two-run double) and Megan Rud (RBI triple) both drove in runs on extra base hits.
South coach Ronnie Davis said his seniors have had a bitter taste in their mouths over narrowly missing the playoffs each of the past two seasons and were focused on locking up a postseason berth as quickly as possible.
South and West will face each other at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at Fowler Park, with the winner advancing to the Region 6-AAAAAA title game.
The Lady War Eagles and Lady Wolverines split their regular season series 1-1. Both games were decided by a score of 4-2.
Although the second round ended in disappointment for North (14-10) and Lambert (21-7) on Saturday, each will have a second chance at a state playoff berth on Monday in the double-elimination tournament.
Both teams play again at 4 p.m. at Fowler Park, as North faces Alpharetta while Lambert plays Chattahoochee. The winners of those games automatically qualify for the state tournament and advance to face each other at 6:30 p.m.
Lambert defeated Johns Creek 10-4 in the opening round and North edged Chattahoochee 1-0. Both North and Lambert are still eligible to reach the region championship game.