JOHNS CREEK — In the midst of a playoff race in which four teams are separated by one game or less for the final two spots, West Forsyth remained calm, and no player was more relaxed than Alec Wilson.
The sophomore paced the Wolverines with two RBIs and three hits, including a first-inning home run that soared past the 350 mark in right-center field and ricocheted off the scoreboard, to help his team earn a 7-2 victory over Chattahoochee on Monday at Cougar Field
The win moves West (11-9, 5-4 region) into a three-way tie for third place in Region 6-AAAAAA with North Forsyth and South Forsyth with five region games left on the schedule.
"I was just relaxed today," Wilson said. "I felt good. I wasn’t thinking as much as I have been. I was just relaxed. It was all just coming together.
"We’re in contention for a playoff spot and can hopefully get home field advantage."
Chattahoochee (7-13, 3-6) tied the game at one apiece in the bottom of the first inning on a single to left field that scored Mario Leone, but that was the last time the game was close.
West rattled off four hits and drove home three runs in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead. Brett Anderson was hit by a pitch before Hunter Belue and Sam Sutko both singled to load the bases for Johnny Cassandra. The nine-hole hitter lined the ball back up the middle to score two runs and put runners on the corners. Chattahoochee pitcher Adam Perleberg (4 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 HBP, 1 BB) forced a lineout before Wilson knocked in the final run of the inning on a two-out single to left field.
"[Wilson] and some other guys had some big hits," West head coach Mike Pruitt said. "Early in the season, we weren’t getting the timely hits. We were getting runners on base, but just couldn’t quite get the big hit. Today was a different story, and I was glad to see that."
The Cougars rallied in the fourth inning, but only managed one run. Michael Dibrell led off with a double to deep left field and Jordan Einstein singled to bring him home.
Einstein then moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt at first with no outs, but West pitcher Austin Shea (4 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 HBP) got back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to strand the runner and crushed the momentum.
The Wolverines cashed in on Chattahoochee’s new pitcher and tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Jacob Hill (2-for-4) singled before Alex DeCubellis picked up the RBI on a triple to deep center field. Anderson capped the inning with a two-out double off the right field wall that drove in DeCubellis. West added an insurance run in the seventh inning, as Hill knocked in Wilson with a single to left field and made the score 7-2.
Chattahoochee threatened in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded, but West reliever Mason McWhorter (3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB) got out of the jam with a strikeout to end the game.
"We’re right in the thick of [the playoff race,]" Pruitt said. "I told them before the game that this day could be a lot of separation or cause a lot more confusion, but we got to take care of our business here to make that happen, and they did. They responded real well.
"Austin Shea [was] great pitching [and] Mason McWhorter [was] good in relief. That was about as complete of a ballgame as we’ve played."