A season that began with region championship dreams ended with a disappointing loss that epitomized the year for West Forsyth.
Erratic starting pitching led to a big early deficit, and an ill-timed defensive miscue squashed a Wolverine comeback in an 11-4 loss to Northview on Friday.
The Wolverines finish the season 13-13 and 4-8 in Region 6-AAAAA.
“We set the goal of a region championship at the beginning of the season,” said first-year coach Mike Pruitt, who misses the playoffs for only the second time in his 23-year coaching career. “But we just kept digging ourselves holes all year in games in the region. We just couldn’t put it all together.”
West was eliminated from playoff contention in a 3-2 loss at No. 2 Milton on Thursday, one of three one-run region losses for the Wolverines. Northview (15-10, 8-4) was already locked into the No. 2 seed out of the region. But there still was plenty of emotion at Wolverine Field on Friday.
With proud mothers sporting “Senior Mom” shirts and dads cheering their son’s final high-school performance, 12 Wolverine seniors were celebrated before, during and after the game. It wasn’t the way they wanted to go out, but Pruitt said the seniors’ effort left a mark on the program.
“I feel like they laid the foundation for the future of our program,” Pruitt said.
After falling behind 6-0, some of the West seniors helped mount a two-out rally in the fourth inning.
Second baseman Will Skidmore (3-for-4, 1 R) ignited the rally with a single. Brent Odum kept things going by hustling safely to first after a strike-three pitch got away from Northview catcher Jason Delay.
Graham Bunting, the team’s leading hitter, drew a walk to load the bases, and Jordan Cain and Drew Robbins followed with RBI hits to cut the Northview lead to 6-4.
But the Titans answered with five runs in the sixth inning, four of which came after an infield error that would have been the third out.
Reid Steckenrider, Blake Burkett, Lance Belue, Sam Spota, Brady Leiblie, Jonathan Kizzar and Trevor Guthrie also completed their Wolverine career Friday.
Northview’s Sean McLaughlin, a Georgia commitment and MLB prospect, went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a walk.