South Forsyth High School is about 2 1/2 hours from Columbus, but the War Eagles were just a couple of inches away on Thursday.
Peachtree Ridge scored four runs in the seventh inning, then threw out a pair of South runners at the plate in the bottom frame to hand the War Eagles a crushing 5-4 loss in Game 3, eliminating South from postseason contention.
Ansley Chiang's base hit began the bottom of the seventh, and a Kennedy Ariail groundout and Makenna Segal walk moved Chiang to second base.
Isabel Hui singled up the middle, and Chiang raced home, only to be met with a perfect throw from center fielder Kennedy Harp.
On the next play, Katie Traynor poked a base hit into right field, which scored Segal, but Hui was cut down by right fielder Zaia Hammond's throw to end the game.
"I guess I probably got overzealous and was trying to make one happen, but it happens," South Forsyth head coach Leanne Brooks said.
South (15-19) had a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning, but Peachtree Ridge scratched across four singles, an intentional walk and a fielder's choice to grab a 5-3 lead.
"I don't think we gave up, and I couldn't ask for more from them," Brooks said. "We had the rough inning, but they came out and they tried to get after it. At the end of the day, we just didn't get enough."
Traynor was excellent for much of the game, limiting the Lions to just four hits — all singles — over the first six innings. She finished with five runs — two earned — and seven hits over seven innings, striking out three and walking two.
She also finished 1 for 4 at the plate, falling victim to a couple of tough-luck outs.
"I think she did an outstanding job," Brooks said. "We felt like she was the one to go with to get the outs in the box, and she did a great job. Once she came together in the box, she hit the ball hard. They had her figured out for a little bit, then she made an adjustment and got after it."
South built its lead with a three-run first inning, as Chiang led off the game with a double and Kennedy Ariail followed with a single.
Segal was intentionally walked and Hui reached on an error by shortstop Jaylah Jarrell. Peachtree Ridge pitcher Ellie Lunsford then walked in Ariail and Segal.
Chiang and Hui each finished with two hits, while Segal was intentionally walked four times. Segal came around to score twice.
Traynor, Kennedy, Audrey Hui and Emme Souter collected RBIs.
South will return every player but senior Isabel Hui next year.
"I mean, it's never easy, of course," Brooks said. "But I do know we have a bright future because we are very young and there's a lot of talent, and they're just now filling out. I think that a lot of them have potential that they don't even know yet. So, I'm excited to see what the future holds for those girls."
Peachtree Ridge (16-15) advances to the third round of the Class 7A playoffs after earning an at-large bid to the postseason.