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Softball: South keeps hold on top spot in region with win over West

South Forsyth head coach Ronnie Davis had reason to be satisfied after the War Eagles' 6-4 win over West Forsyth on Tuesday. 

South had played a tight, balanced game, with tight defense, timely hitting and another solid pitching performance from Lauren Baccari. Better yet, the win meant the War Eagles held a share of first place in Region 5-7A, a strong follow-up from a team coming off the loss of four all-county seniors from last year. 

Davis had a less charitable assessment, though. 

"We need a lot of work," he said. "We made a lot of mistakes, and we just need to work. We need to be more efficient on the mound, we need to make routine plays and we need to have productive at-bats. To be honest with you, I don't think we did a great job of it all night."

Thursday's performance from South (8-6, 6-2 Region 5-7A) was a steady, but not dominant. They took a lead in the first on Kelley Bagarose's RBI single and made the score 3-0 in the second on Makenna Segal's RBI double. The War Eagles added runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, all on RBI singles. West (5-12, 3-5) got its first run in the fourth on Arynn Pickvet's fielder's choice, added another on Gracie Martin's squeeze the next inning and got two more on Morgann Koepke's two-run home run in the seventh. 

This year's South team is one that leans a good deal on freshmen, like Makenna Segal and Izzy Hui, who hit third and fourth, respectively, on Thursday. They also don't appear to have as much team power as they did last year, with just four home runs among the team so far this year. 

"I just think the pitching is really good this year," said Bagarose, who had three singles on Thursday. "We just have to adjust, hit line drives. That's how you're going to win; you can't just hit bombs over the fence. You have to get them on, get them over, get them in."

On Thursday, the War Eagles deployed bunts a good deal, bunting with three straight batters in the second inning and twice more in the fifth. One of senior shortstop Jordyn Harris' hits came on a swing where she showed bunt but pulled back. 

To Davis, that strategy was less about the team's strengths and more about avoiding certain outcomes. 

"I'm tired of seeing popups and strikeouts," he said. "I think if you ask any coach in the region, that's pretty much (what has happened) across the region, is a lot of strikeouts and a lot of pop-ups."

South is still on track for another high seed in the state playoffs, but that isn't distracting Davis from the team's flaws. That means the War Eagles can see their shortcomings, too.

"They know," Davis said. "They know how to read me pretty well. I usually don't hide too much."