Through the first leg of the season, South Forsyth’s baseball team has been up and down. The rollercoaster ride continued with a sizeable dip Wednesday.
Johns Creek pounded out 14 hits off four different South pitchers and dealt the War Eagles a 13-3 loss in the Region 6-AAAAAA opener at War Eagle Field.
Most of the Gladiators’ damage was done during a seven-run second inning. After each squad scored a run in the first, South starting pitcher Anthony Trovato was victimized by six consecutive baserunners — five singles and one hit batsman — to start the second.
With four Johns Creek runs already in, Trovato got Brandon Gold to ground out for the first out of the inning.
Justin Friend then hit a one-hop infield single off the pitcher to send another runner across the plate. Trovato was not injured on the play but was pulled from the game.
Austin Alexander came on in relief and induced a run-scoring ground out from Michael Salomon. Justin Mihalik administered the final blow of the inning with his second single of the game to drive in a run.
South (5-7, 0-1 Region 6) responded with a single run in the bottom half of the second, as Alexander drew a one-out walk, advanced on an errant pickoff throw, and scored on a double by Austyn Jacques.
The Gladiators (6-3, 1-0) added another run in the third inning, but South left fielder Michael Strait kept the damage from being worse with a nice defensive play.
Strait fielded a one-out single and made a perfect one-hop throw to catcher Nate Smith to deny a baserunner trying to score.
The War Eagles threatened at the plate in the bottom of the frame, as Smith and Zach McCrum reached on singles before Sam Walker drew a one-out walk to load the bases.
But Johns Creek starter Michael Gorst settled down and got the biggest of his three strikeouts on the afternoon when he fanned Nate Schmal on four pitches. Travotto, hitting for Alexander, then hit a bouncer to third for an easy force play to end the inning.
The wheels came all the way off for South in the top of the fifth, as Johns Creek tacked on enough runs to invoke ther mercy rule with a home run mixed in with walks, extending the lead to 13-2.
South scored its only other run in the bottom half of the frame when Walker drove in Smith with a two-out single.
Smith, McCrum and Jacques had two hits apiece for the War Eagles.