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Softball: Allen's first career grand slam lifts South past Lambert
Ruthie Allen
South Forsyth senior Ruthie Allen is congratulated Tuesday after reaching first base. - photo by David Roberts

Ruthie Allen had a Grand Slam for breakfast.

Well, almost. She had eggs, sausage, toast, some fruit and a cup of coffee.

For dinner, Allen hit a grand slam.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against Lambert, Allen hammered the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence to score Charlotte Brooks, Makenna Segal and Katie Traynor, and give South Forsyth a 5-2 lead.

The War Eagles won that game 11-3, then completed the doubleheader sweep with a 4-0 win in the nightcap.

Allen’s grand slam was the first of her career at South, and it came two weeks after her first home run.

“I got up there and I told myself to breathe, and whatever happens, happens,” Allen said. “At first, I didn’t think it went over, but they just kept on running, so I just went with it.”

Allen hit a two-run double her next at-bat, then led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single before scoring on Karly Casey’s RBI groundout. She reached base all three times in the second game, finishing 2 for 3 with an RBI, and smacking a ground ball that screamed past shortstop Colleen Thorson’s glove and into left field to score two runs.

“She was on it,” South head coach Leanne Brooks said. “I mean, really, this team surprises me every time we get out here. It’s so fun to see new things that they’re capable of doing, and I think a lot of times they surprise themselves.”

Lambert scored the first two runs of the first game, as Hannah Cole’s RBI groundout in the first inning plated Thorson, then Emma Harwood scored Madison Todd with an RBI double the following inning.

But Allen’s grand slam was part of an 8-0 run that stretched three innings and made it an 8-2 game by the sixth inning.

A pair of Lambert errors allowed South to grab the lead early in the second game. Back-to-back singles by Traynor and Allen gave the War Eagles a 4-0 lead in an inning that began with Ansley Chiang reaching on an error.

“When you’re playing teams that are at the top of the region, you have to be flawless,” Lambert head coach Brooks Youngblood said. “You can’t make mistakes. That’s the takeaway from today. I won’t tell our girls that I expect perfection, but in this kind of game, against this type of opponent, that’s what it takes to win.”

Courtney Sauer
Lambert sophomore Courtney Sauer throws the ball to first base Tuesday during the Longhorns' 4-0 loss to South Forsyth. - photo by David Roberts
Courtney Sauer took the loss for the Longhorns despite largely keeping South in check for much of the game. Sauer scattered seven hits across six innings, allowing four runs – one earned – and striking out three batters.

Sauer was outdueled, however, by South freshman Josie Crossman, who threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout, fanning eight batters.

Crossman carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when freshman Hannah Cole drove a single up the middle for Lambert’s first hit.

Leanne Brooks wasn’t thinking about a potential no-hitter, but some in the dugout were counting down the outs.

“I don’t, but we all kind of have a different thought process in here, so actually, one of my assistants that was right next to me, that was the first things he said when that hit happened,” Brooks said. “So, one of us is probably always thinking about it.”

Josie Crossman
South Forsyth freshman Josie Crossman delivers a pitch Tuesday during the War Eagles' 4-0 win against Lambert. - photo by David Roberts
Crossman is putting together a solid freshman campaign for the War Eagles. Last week against West Forsyth, she threw five innings of shutout relief, striking out five batters and surrendering just one hit.

“She has really stepped up recently when we’ve put her in. I mean, I couldn’t be more proud,” Brooks said. “We’ve kind of noticed sometimes with JV, she might throw a little different than she does in varsity. Once she gets out here, she trusts her defense and she just lets it go.”

Cole, Todd and Sydney Chung had hits for the Longhorns in Game 1. Cole also finished 1 for 3 with a solo home run in the first game.

Lambert (7-10, 6-3 Region 6-7A) beat South 4-3 last week, and the Longhorns also own a 9-8 win against North Forsyth. With a team that’s light on experience – the Longhorns have only one senior – Youngblood is looking for his team to be a bit more consistent.

“We can be at that level,” Youngblood said. “I think the consistency needs to get there, and when it does, we can play at that level.

South (12-1-1, 8-1 Region 6-7A) was in a similar situation last season, featuring only one senior on its team.

This year, the War Eagles won 12 of their first 14 games and are in sole possession of first place in the region.

“I think it’s just us developing,” Allen said. “It’s basically the same team. We have a couple new players, but we only had one senior last year. So, I think it’s just everyone developing.”