South Forsyth softball coach Ronnie Davis had seen this before.
His War Eagles loaded the bases on North Forsyth with nobody out in both the first and third innings. South managed two runs in the bottom of the first on a North error and a single from Keira Mell, but the Raiders escaped further damage.
Sofia Tapia ensured that North paid the price the next time around. The junior catcher smacked a grand slam to dead center, the punctuating moment in the Lady War Eagles’ 9-1 home win over North in six innings on Tuesday.
“At the start of the game, when [North] was struggling to find the strike zone, we didn’t take full advantage of the situations we were in,” Davis said. “The pressure’s already on them. With the bases loaded and none or one out, we can’t bail them out.”
South (8-2-1, 6-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) pitcher Katherine Huey shut the Lady Raiders (5-7, 4-3) down over four no-hit innings. The sophomore walked one batter (who was promptly caught stealing) and struck out seven. Kara Bilodeau worked the final two innings, allowing one run on two hits.
“[Katherine] worked both sides of the plate and she’s fun to watch because she can work every part of the plate and she can make any pitch,” Davis said. “She did a very good job of getting ahead in the count, but then she nibbled too much instead of just going after people. That’s what I’m working on with her: the mental side, so that she’s not just out there throwing.”
By the time Tapia dug in to the left-hand batter’s box with none out in the third, the Lady War Eagles had pushed their lead to 4-0. Bianca Mora (2-2, R, 2 RBI) plated Stephanie Harris (0-1, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 SB) with a two-out single to center in the second inning. Jordan Palmer tacked on the fourth run in the third with a single to center that scored Kara Bilodeau.
Tapia (1-3, HR, 4 RBI) made up for South’s earlier missed opportunities. Her grand slam forced a North pitching change and helped the Lady War Eagles run-rule the Lady Raiders for a region win.
Bailey Rivers drove in Ashley Barton with a sacrifice fly to center in the fifth for North’s lone run.
“I want them to be greedier in those situations and score six or seven runs,” Davis said. “That’s how you go from a good team to a great team. Still, we’re going through our region for the first time and still are in a spot where we control our destiny.”