South Forsyth had no trouble reaching base on Senior Night, but reaching the state playoffs wasn’t entirely in the team’s control.
Every South starter reached base at least once in a 12-2 victory over Centennial on Friday at War Eagle Field, but the War Eagles were shut out of the postseason due to Alpharetta’s 8-1 victory over West Forsyth.
Although the War Eagles (14-12, 8-6 Region 6-AAAAAA) finished the season with the same region record as Alpharetta, the Raiders won both head-to-head meetings by one run.
"I’m very proud of them," South head coach Russ Bayer said. "One of the things you shoot for as a coach — one of the reflections of a good, quality team is they get better as the year goes on. Even though the record is an indication of it, more importantly just looking at the way they play the game.
"From the way our defense was to our young guys on the mound making the quality pitches they were, and also very importantly our job at the plate offensively. We did a wonderful job of putting runs on the board when we needed them, and as a whole, they really developed and I couldn’t be more proud of them for what they did."
Centennial (3-23, 1-13) scored the first two runs of the game in the second inning with a solo home run by Robert Keramidas and then loaded the bases with no outs, but South pitcher Austin Alexander (4 IP, ER, 7 H, 3 K, BB) worked his way out the jam and allowed only one more run to score.
From there, it was all South.
The War Eagles figured out Centennial pitcher Jake Young (1 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, K, BB) in the bottom half of the inning for seven runs.
Michael Strait tripled to lead off the inning before Nate Schmal drove him in with an outfield single. Chase Farley singled and C.J. Kream walked to load the bases for Baus. Baus got a hit up the middle to score Schmal, but the center fielder didn’t get his glove down low enough and let the ball roll to the fence, allowing Farley and Kream to cross the plate while Baus took third to give South a 4-2 lead.
Baus reached base four times.
"I gave it all I [had]," Baus said. "I usually work the count and make the pitcher get his pitch count up and go from there."
South continued to pour it on, as Baus scored on an error and Smith reached home on a single by Strait. Schmal (2-for-3, 3 RBIs) capped off the seven-run inning with a bases-loaded walk to bring in Zach McCrum and make the score 7-2.
The War Eagles tacked on three more runs in the third inning behind only one hit.
Austyn Jacques scored C.J. Kream on an RBI groundout, while Baus and Smith crossed the plate on an error by the catcher to cushion the lead to 10-2.
South relief pitcher Will Foy had no trouble with the Knights and allowed only one hit in two innings of work.
Schmal picked up his third RBI in the fifth inning with a double to left field to score McCrum and Baus reached home in the sixth inning on an error by the third baseman to invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
"In the first inning…we were chasing pitches out of the zone; we were helping them out," Bayer said. "[In] the second inning we were able to get some guys on, able to execute, do a little bit [and] got that ball rolling. Once we got the momentum back in our favor, the guys just took it from there."