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Baseball: South sustains first loss of region play against Milton
South Forsyth's Grant Gerberding jumps to receive a throw as Milton's Jack Rhodes slides into second base during the War Eagles' game against the Eagles on April 12, 2018 at South Forsyth High School. - photo by Ben Hendren

The situation for the South Forsyth baseball team could definitely be worse. The War Eagles could be hanging on the edge of making the playoffs like they were at this point last year, but South was the first team to make it in this season, and they're already guaranteed to host a first-round series. 

That's certainly part of the reason why head coach Russ Bayer's mood was fairly upbeat after the War Eagles' 7-6 loss to Milton on Thursday night. He quickly pivoted to the concerns raised by South's performance, though. 

"I feel fine," Bayer said. "We just can't get a bunt down. That's not a good thing for a team who has aspirations of making a bit of a playoff run."

Bayer had just seen that failure muffle a potential rally in the bottom of the seventh, when Landon Sims led off the frame with a single, but Kyle Becker failed to lay down a sacrifice. Drew Becker got one in to put Sims on second with two outs, but Bradley Prince Jr. struck out to end the game. 

The loss was the first in region play for the War Eagles (20-6, 10-1), and they would have clinched the region title with a win. The game was a make-up of one originally scheduled for March 30, and it was one of four games that South will end up playing this week. Bayer expected to see more offense, due to his pitching staff being more extended than usual, and the seven runs that the Eagles put up off Keller Dannemiller and Ryan Nolan in the first three innings proved Bayer's feeling correct. 

It wasn't the first imperfect game that the War Eagles had played against a region team, but it was the first where their execution fell short of their opponent. 

"We're always happy to get a win," Bayer said. "But we've had some games where we didn't play clean, and truth be told, we just played less dirty than our opponent and were fortunate enough to get a W."

The upside of South's busy week is the quick turnaround that the War Eagles have, as they face Forsyth Central at home on Friday. And one defeat isn't enough to make them forget the run of dominance that put them in this spot.

"Obviously, a loss hurts," senior pitcher/designated hitter Ben Ferrer said. "But we're confident enough. We'll get it tomorrow."