ROSWELL — One home run, two triples, three doubles and 12 singles. That’s something South Forsyth head coach Russ Bayer could get used to.
Zach McCrum (4-for-4) led the hitting parade with a double and home run to the tune of eight RBIs, and the War Eagles walloped Centennial 19-4 to invoke the five inning mercy rule on Wednesday at the Knights’ Field. South’s 19 runs were the most scored since February 25, 2011, when South defeated Chattooga 20-1.
The War Eagles (9-10, 3-4 Region 6-AAAAAA) have won their last three games after coming into the month of April without consecutive victories to their credit all season.
Although South has struggled to build momentum most of the season, the team is currently tied for fourth place in Region 6 at the midpoint in the region schedule.
"The boys definitely showed tonight and swung the sticks the way they’re capable of doing," Bayer said. "It reminds them and proves to them what we’re capable of doing, but on the flip side, we’ve had the same exact thing done to us. So, we can feel good about it; it’s a good reminder of what we can do when our heads are in the right place."
The War Eagles led 5-1 to end the second inning, and put the game out of reach in the third after they tallied a nine-run inning, all with two outs.
Sam Walker led off the inning with a single before Centennial (2-17, 0-7) pitcher Jake Young (2 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 3 K, 1 BB) got a strikeout and flyout. From there, it was all downhill for the Knights.
C.J. Kream (4-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, 3 RS) hit an RBI triple to deep right field to score Walker from first. Zack Baus struck out, but the catcher couldn’t corral the ball and let Kream score while Baus reached first safely. Austyn Jacques singled and scored from first after Nate Smith doubled to right-center field. McCrum ended Young’s day on the mound with a double to drive in Jacques and made the score 10-1.
The pitching change didn’t make a difference, as Michael Strait was hit by a pitch to bring Walker to the plate for the second time in the inning. Walker blasted a triple to center field to score McCrum and Strait. Nate Schmal hit a grounder to the shortstop, who couldn’t handle the ball, which sent Walker home. Gavin Crimmins singled before Kream knocked in the final run of the inning with a hit to right field to score Schmal and boost the lead to 14-1.
"I was just relaxed at the plate and stayed loose," Kream said. "[The ball] looked huge and easy to hit.
"It’s just a great win. It’ll be a good momentum [starter] for the rest of the region [schedule]."
McCrum added two more runs for South in the fourth with a home run to left-center field to score Smith, who doubled. The War Eagles got three insurance runs in the fifth inning. Jake Mowery hit a bases-loaded single to drive in Schmal, Sam Brady singled to score Crimmins and an error allowed Kream to cross the plate to bring the score to 19-2.
McCrum started the scoring in the first inning with a two-run single to drive in Baus and Jacques. The second inning wasn’t much better for the Knights, as Kream scored on an error by the catcher, Baus reached home on a groundout by Smith and Jacques crossed the plate on an infield single by McCrum.
Will Foy (4 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP) earned the win for South on the mound.
"I don’t think I’ve had that many RBIs in a game," McCrum said. "It’s nice. I’m kind of finding my rhythm. It looks like a beach ball; it’s nice when that happens.
"We’re clicking as a team. We got a lot of guys who haven’t played together until this year. We graduated a lot of seniors last year. Teams that win are teams that get hot at the right time, and we’re obviously getting hot at the right time."