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Softball: Crossman's grand slam, shutout guide South to sweep of Central
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South Forsyth sophomore Josie Crossman delivers a pitch Thursday during Game 1 of the War Eagles' doubleheader sweep of Forsyth Central. - photo by David Roberts

It’s not always easy to get focused for a game during fall break, but that wasn’t a problem for South Forsyth Thursday night.

The War Eagles swept Central 10-0 in both games of their senior night doubleheader.

South head coach Leanne Brooks was impressed with how her team performed.

“I really couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Brooks said. “You never know how things are gonna go when you’re on fall break. You’ve got to come back and regroup. They did a great job. Very proud of them.”

In Game 1, Josie Crossman dominated both in the circle and in the batter’s box. She allowed three hits and struck out four in the shutout. On the other side, she hit a grand slam in the bottom of the third to really put the game away.

Ansley Balose and Riley Carr split pitching duties in Game 2, combining to allow only three hits. Senior Ashley Chu went 2-for-2 with an RBI and scored two runs.

This senior class has been special for Brooks.

“I’ve been with them since I was an assistant coach, before I took over the program,” Brooks said. “It’s one of those that’s been fun to transform that altogether. I’ve loved watching them grow. Senior night is special. It’s always bittersweet because you know it’s coming to an end, but excited for what the next chapter holds for them.”

The two wins moved South to 6-5 in Region 6-7A play, which vaulted the War Eagles into third place in the region.

“[The wins] were huge,” Brooks said. “This year has been a little different for us than it has been the past couple of years. The girls are having to change mindsets. We’re not just competing for a first and second spot. We’re competing just to make it to the playoffs right now. Them realizing that difference and what that means and how long our season is, it’s hit them pretty hard but at the right time.”

Central head coach Kelly Gordon has been proud of her team’s growth this season.

“I’ve definitely seen some younger girls mature and some seniors up and step into roles that they might not have necessarily been in last year,” Gordon said. “We’re just trying to learn and grow each and every day both physically and mentally. Learning the game and just getting better. We see it, we’ve just got to break the ice and get that first region win. I’m looking forward to when it does happen.”

One player that’s really stood out for them this season is Emily Caron, who batted 3-for-4 between the two games.

“Emily Caron is having a great season,” Gordon said. “Really proud of how she’s growing and becoming a leader both on and off the field. I think she brings a bunch of positivity to our program, which we need in those long innings where it seems like we can’t get an out. I’ve seen her call a timeout and talk to our pitchers, tell them a joke and cheer them up. Sometimes that’s all we need.”

As the final stretch of region play approaches, South has put themselves in prime position to punch their ticket to the postseason.

The War Eagles [9-11, 6-5 Region 6-7A] will face West Forsyth at 10 a.m. Saturday, while Central [7-13, 2-6 Region 6-7A] will travel to West Forsyth at 5:30 p.m. Friday.