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Softball: South begins region play with close win over West
South Forsyth catcher Kylie League celebrates with War Eagles assistant coach Leanne Brooks after South's win over West Forsyth on Aug. 22, 2018 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Adversity has certainly found the South Forsyth softball program this season, in the loss of important seniors like Kelley Bagarose and Jordyn Harris to graduation and the loss of younger players like Morgan Kilmer to the newly-opened Denmark High School.

So it wasn’t a shock, then, when more cropped up on Wednesday night in the War Eagles’ Region 5-7A opener at West Forsyth. Some of it they couldn’t counteract, like the Wolverines’ decision to intentionally walk star sophomore Makenna Segal in her last three trips, and some of it was more self-inflicted, like the three straight jams senior pitcher Lauren Baccari had to work out of.

The last of those was in the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Wolverines put runners on second and third with one out. South knew how to adjust, and Baccari proceeded to get two strikeouts to give the War Eagles a 3-0 win.

“We’re comfortable in uncomfortable situations. That’s why she is who she is, is she does such a good job of being comfortable in those situations,” War Eagles head coach Ronnie Davis said of Baccari. “She doesn’t feel like the pressure’s on her – the pressure’s on the other person.”

Wednesday’s game, pushed back a day because West’s field was unplayable on Tuesday, was in sharp contrast to the offense-heavy openers from the day before, in which Central beat Milton 15-2 and Lambert beat North 8-5. Baccari and West starter Hannah Guthrie exchanged empty frames until the fourth, when South pinch runner Ashley Chu stole second, advanced to third on a ball in the dirt and then dashed home when West threw to first on Katie Traynor’s bunt.

South Forsyth's Makenna Segal looks back towards home plate after being walked for the fourth time during the War Eagles' softball game against West Forsyth in Aug. 22, 2018 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
In the fifth, Isabel Hui hit a two-RBI single to score Segal – who had just been intentionally walked for the second time – and Hannah Marchman to give South (3-4, 1-0 Region 5-7A) a 3-0 lead.

Segal got just one change to put a ball in play, in the first inning; the War Eagles had runners on base the next three times she came up, so West (4-4, 0-1) put her on each time.

“(I) was a little disappointed,” Segal said of her walk-filled night. “But I was excited, because I knew that we have the talent to produce runs, whether we get on base by hits (or) whether it’s intentional walks. So it just gives my teammates more opportunity, and just makes me a better teammate to trust in them.”

The region softball scene could to be a particularly even one this year, with no team having clearly distinguished itself in terms of high-profile talent or non-region results.

It’s early yet, though, and Davis is noncommital as ever when evaluating the War Eagles’ chances.

“We play every game to win every game, and we treat each game equally,” Davis said. “We don’t look at who we are. We get a game plan of whoever we’re facing and we go about it the best way that we know how.”