Suddenly things in Region 6-AAAAAA look awfully interesting.
South Forsyth and West Forsyth both knocked off the region's top team, Lambert, during a double header Thursday afternoon and evening, which gave the Longhorns their second and third region losses on the season in a span of six hours.
South rode the arm and bat of Alec Kliphouse, who pitched a complete game and had four RBIs to give the War Eagles a badly needed 7-3 victory that helped them jump Johns Creek for the fourth and final playoff spot in the region.Delete-Merge Up
In the night cap, West jumped out to a 10-1 lead, held off a furious comeback for a 10-9 win, and as a result took over first place.Delete-Merge Up
For Lambert (17-6, 13-3), the result was both unexpected and, well, expected. Aside two games against North, the Longhorns had effectively blown out all of their region opponents up to Thursday's contest. Lambert also looked strong in the head-to-head, having defeated South 13-4 and West 16-3 in their previous meetings. But the Longhorns had been playing a daily schedule over the past week to make up for postponed contests, and according to coach Drew Ferrer, fatigue could have played a factor.
“I definitely thought we looked flat against South, and then came back out in the second game and gave up a huge lead, but from the second inning on we battled and did a great job,” Ferrer said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win in the second game, so I take from this that we came back and fought hard.”
South will need to defeat Chattahoochee and hope North Forsyth beats Johns Creek to hold on to the final playoff spot. After a close loss to North, 3-2, and a 13-3 victory over Centennial, the three-game winning streak has Russ Bayer thinking his team is finally doing what it's capable of.
“Going to back to the last three or four games we've played a lot of good baseball but have had some hard luck, and I told my guys if we stay disciplined and committed, the game would turn for us,” Bayer said. “But this thing is not over.”
Nothing worked better for the War Eagles than small ball, as the team took advantage of the slow grass to bunt their way around the diamond against Lambert.
Kliphouse then slowed Lambert's offense, mostly scattering seven hits and only issuing two walks during 124 pitches worth of work. For him, the performance was a nice way to knock off some dust from a rainy spring break and a shoulder injury.
“Luckily the rain helped me out, but I'd been nursing a shoulder injury that made me miss my last start,” Kliphouse said.
West also had a solid pitching performance, as Addison Albright went six innings, allowing just four hits and three walks. Albright was pulled with a 10-7 lead after Seth Beer brought home Jeremy Johnson and J.D. Dutka on a single. Alec Wilson then allowed a two-RBI double from Eric Furphy before combining with Connor Hawkins to end the game.
“Lambert might be the best team in the state. I'll tell you what, after what they did to us at our place, I'm proud of our kids because they could have melted, but we stood strong and we won this one,” West coach Mike Pruitt said.
Furphy finished with five RBIs in the second game, while Beer had three RBIs and two runs scored.