With no beach in sight, Zack McCrum conducted a different kind of bash during spring break.
McCrum hit two home runs during a nine-run sixth inning, and South Forsyth pounded Graves County, Ky. 14-2 on Wednesday at War Eagle Field. The senior began South’s scoring barrage in the sixth with a two-run home run before invoking the mercy rule with a three-run shot later in the inning.
"I don’t know if I’ve had [two home runs] in the same inning before," McCrum said with a grin. "[The first] was a fastball and the other might have been a changeup, but I don’t look for pitches, I look for location. It was in my location and I cut it loose."
The game was tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, but Nate Smith (3-for-4, 1 RBI, 3 RS) led off the inning with a single and stole second. He moved to third on a deep flyout from McCrum and scored on an RBI groundout from Michael Strait to give South (7-10, 1-4 Region 6-AAAAAA) a 3-2 lead.
From there, Graves (5-3) fell apart. Sam Walker reached on an infield error and Austyn Jacques (1-for-3, 3 RS, 3 SB) walked before Nate Schmal hit a fly ball to the left fielder, who dropped it and allowed Walker to score. C.J. Kream (2-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 RS) capped off the inning with a bunt single to push Jacques across the plate to make the score 5-2.
McCrum (2 IP, 1 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP), the fourth and final pitcher, made short work of Graves in the top of the sixth to send South back to bat.
Smith led off the bottom half of the frame with a single to right before McCrum smashed a home run to left-center field for South’s first extra-base hit. Straight reached on an infield error and Jacques bunted his way on base to bring Schmal to the plate. The eight-hole batter knocked home two more runs with a single to right field to cushion the lead to 9-2 with only one out.
Graves changed pitchers, but it was to no avail. Kream walked and Anthony Trovato singled up the middle to score both baserunners. Another infield error put Smith on base before McCrum ended the game with a three-run home run to left-center field.
Will Foy (2 IP, 1 H, 1 K) started on the mound for South before being relieved by Logan Cole and Austin Alexander. The War Eagles only allowed four hits in the game, but three consecutive walks in the fourth inning set up RBIs for the Eagles’ Justin Hayden and Austin Jones.
South scored its first run in the third inning with an infield single from Smith and added its second run the next inning, as Zack Baus singled to score Jacques and tie the game at 2-2
"The boys did a good job of finally putting the bat on the ball," South head coach Russ Bayer said. "It’s a lot easier to go out there and manufacture runs when you put yourself in a [good] situation. ... Lately, we’ve been very slowed down in terms of having a chance to manufacture runs and today we had a chance to do it. We got the ball rolling and got all the momentum going for us there."
South will return to region play at home against Chattahoochee on Monday at 5:55 p.m.