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Softball: South's homers do damage in doubleheader sweep of North
Ansley Chiang
South Forsyth sophomore Ansley Chiang, center, celebrates with senior Katie Traynor after Traynor's three-run home run Tuesday. - photo by David Roberts

Katie Traynor didn't see her home run clear the fence. Everyone else heard it when it landed.

Traynor's three-run homer carried over the center field wall and scattered a group of students who parked their trucks just behind the fence, letting out a loud thud as the ball bounced off one of the trucks. 

It was the first shot of Tuesday's Civil War between North Forsyth and South Forsyth, which ended with the War Eagles beating the Raiders 11-4 and 9-7 in a doubleheader sweep.

“I was told after that it hit a truck – and apparently it took the taillight out with it," Traynor said. "But before that, I wasn’t thinking, ‘Hit a home run’ or anything like that. I was thinking more like, just do what I can for my team and try to get a base hit and try to move runners around, because there were two other people on, which I think were Ashley Chu and Ansley Chiang. So I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, I need to crank one over the wall.’ I need to do something for my team and help get the runs going.”

Traynor's home run was part of a seven-run second inning that South used to build an insurmountable lead.

Katie Traynor
South Forsyth senior Katie Traynor delivers a pitch Tuesday during the second game of the War Eagles' doubleheader against North Forsyth. - photo by David Roberts
The War Eagles hammered 13 hits in the first game, led by sophomore Ansley Chiang's three hits, two runs and two RBIs. Traynor drove in five runs, while senior Hannah Marchman gave up four runs — one earned — on seven hits to pick up the win. 

South chased North starter Hailey Mize after three innings, as Mize gave up 10 earned runs on 11 hits. 

In all, Chiang went 5 for 8 in the two games, accounting for five RBIs and four runs. She prevailed during an eight-pitch at-bat in the fourth inning of Game 2, launching a double into the gap in left-center that fueled South's comeback. 

The hit came an inning after Olivia Tyson struck out Chiang after a 10-pitch battle.

“She has been locked in so well at the plate, whether it was Gainesville last week, moving into this week," South head coach Leanne Brooks said of Chiang. "She’s kind of kept a great approach and stayed within herself. She hasn’t tried to do too much. She’s young, so last year as freshmen they kind of felt the pressure a little bit, and she’s maturing into that better athlete this year.”

North outslugged South in Game 2, tallying 13 hits. Lauren Fields was 4 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored, while McKayla Cothran and Maggie McBrayer each had two hits. 

The Raiders scored six times over the first three innings, taking a 6-2 lead into the top of the fourth inning, but South's four-run frame ultimately erased the lead. 

Fields had an RBI single in the first inning, Ashleigh Grace had an RBI groundout the following inning, then North batted around in the third.

Cothran reached on an error by Chiang, then Mize sent a single into center field. Back-to-back RBI singles by Fields and Ali Jones made it 4-2 North, then Fields scored on Taylor Pipkins' RBI groundout and Jones scored when Emily Hutcheson scored on another Chiang error.

But in the sixth, senior Ruthie Allen launched a no-doubt, two-run homer over the left-field fence that broke the tie and gave South an 8-6 lead. It was the first career home run for Allen, who finished a perfect 3 for 3 in Game 2, driving in five runs. Allen also had a two-run triple in the fourth inning.

Ali Jones
North Forsyth junior Ali Jones fires a ball to first base during Tuesday's doubleheader against South Forsyth. - photo by David Roberts
Cothran singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, but collided with first baseman Chloe Traynor, drawing an obstruction call from the umpire. However, Cothran did not continue running toward second base and was called out by the umpire. 

North head coach Jim Cahill protested the call but was thrown out of the game and not available for comment after the conclusion of the game. 

South Forsyth assistant coach Adam Baldwin was also ejected early in Game 1 for arguing with the home plate umpire. 

According to GHSA bylaws, any softball player, coach or team attendant who is ejected from a GHSA contest must sit out the next two scheduled contests.

South (7-0, 3-0 Region 6-7A) will travel to Denmark at 6 p.m. Thursday, while North (4-6, 0-2 Region 6-7A) will travel to Forsyth Central at 6 p.m. Thursday.

South senior Makenna Segal drew 10 intentional walks from atop the War Eagles' lineup Tuesday, scoring six times and swiping one base. Brooks said as long as opposing teams intentionally walk her star shortstop, she will give Segal the green light to swipe second base.

“That’s where it’s great, is trying to automatically get a double from your leadoff from the get go," Brooks said. "She’s got some speed that’s on her side. She obviously hates walking, so she wants to contribute somewhere else. If I’m not doing it, she’s asking if she can. That’s been very exciting for her and fun for us.”