After the South Forsyth baseball team ended its non-region schedule with a win over McEachern back on March 9, War Eagles head coach Russ Bayer lamented one main fault that his team hadn't been able to kick: lackluster defense. Tuesday night's game against Forsyth Central proved that South still hasn't found a permanent fix.
But Bayer and the team can only be so disappointed: The War Eagles had five errors on Tuesday, but they also scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth and won, 11-5. They're now 4-0 in Region 5-7A, sitting as the lone undefeated squad in those standings.
"The errors have stuck around, but it kind of fuels us to do better at the plate," South senior shortstop Grant Gerberding said.
Gerberding could speak to that point personally. He had two errors in the game: one in the top of the fourth, when he mishandled a ball and allowed Greg Tasos to reach, and another in the top of the sixth, when he booted a grounder from Jonathan Bergmoser. Gerberding still got an out on the latter play, as he gathered the ball and threw home to beat Mitchell Gross, who tried to score from second, but Bergmoser reached second on the play and wound up scoring on Tasos' subsequent single.
Central led 4-2 at that point off the strength of a solid outing from junior righthander Jacob Ryan, who came in after Ethan Hankins threw an inning to start the game, as well as some opportunistic offensive play against War Eagles starter Landon Sims.
Sims and Jack Kream reached to start the bottom of the sixth for South, though, and the War Eagles (11-4, 4-0 Region 5-7A) roared ahead when Alex Hoberg took the mound for the Bulldogs (4-12, 2-2). Gerberding was the first batter Hoberg faced, and he helped start the rally by bunting for a hit, laying one down the third-base line that had stopped dead by the time any Bulldog could get to it.
Kyle Becker's two-RBI double tied the game, and Bradley Prince Jr.'s bloop single into left gave South the lead. Gerberding was the one to top off the scoring, as he doubled to the wall in left to drive two runs in and make it 11-4. Peyton Rawlins pitched the seventh inning for the War Eagles, allowing a run in the process.
Bayer acknowledged after the game that he was pleased with the War Eagles' current standing in the region. But just as he spoke to the team's lingering defensive difficulties after the win over the Indians, Bayer made sure on Tuesday to keep the team conscious of the dangers still ahead.
"Right now, the only thing 4-0 guarantees us is that, at the worst, we're going to be 4-11 in region play," Bayer said. "There's really nothing to rest our hat on yet. The start is good, but it's about sustainability, and the only thing that really matters now is tomorrow night."
South is set to play Central on the road on Wednesday.