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Baseball: West staves off late Central rally to snap Bulldogs' streak
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West Forsyth pitcher Brian Garmon II delivers a pitch Monday during the Wolverines' 7-6 win against Forsyth Central. Garmon II pitched 5 2/3 innings and collected the win. - photo by David Roberts

West Forsyth stopped a seventh inning comeback Monday against Forsyth Central, winning 7-6 and snapping the Bulldogs' nine-game winning streak.

Wolverines reliever Andrew Maurer hit Will Nelms and walked Jessie Duong to bring the winning runner to the plate with one out in the seventh inning. West head coach Jim Ernst brought in left-handed reliever Lucas Meehan to face Georgia Southern commit Will Robbins. 

Robbins sent a line drive back up the middle of the field, and then Carson Elias repeated Robbins' at-bat to cut Central’s deficit to one run. 

Meehan buckled down, recorded a strikeout and a weak fly ball to collect the save and win the game for West. 

“[Meehan] is only a 10th-grader,” Ernst said. “That’s the highest pressure situation he’s pitched in, and he showed us he can handle it.”

Central’s usually sound defense committed two errors in the game. The Bulldogs had two runners caught stealing and left seven runners on base. 

“I think we had too many walks and too many errors,” Central head coach Kevin McCollum. “Add a couple base running mistakes and we really hurt ourselves tonight. They played a great game, but we hurt ourselves a good bit.”

At the end of the first two innings, the teams were tied with four runs apiece. The Bulldogs pulled starting pitcher Nicholas Holbrook after 2 ⅔ innings pitched, allowing four runs. 

West’s starter, Brian Garmon II, allowed five hits and two walks for four runs in the first two innings. After allowing a leadoff single and walk to start the third inning, Ernst said he thought he had watched the same game over and over all season. 

“It felt like déjà vu giving up three runs in the first inning like we did in our last game,” Ernst said. “You start saying, ‘Here we go again.’ But after those two innings, he found his command and control and started sitting guys down.” 

Find his control he did. For the next 3 ⅔ innings, Garmon II did not allow a single baserunner, retiring 10 Bulldogs in a row, striking out six of them through the stretch. 

“I just started working down the mound,” Garmon II said. “I realized I was working a little up in some spots, so once I started getting down the mound and working my back side, I gained a lot of confidence.” 

Along with being the winning pitcher, Garmon II led the offense with two runs batted in, going 2-for-3 with a walk in the game. Hudson Posey had a big two RBI single in the first inning to tie the game at three.

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- photo by David Roberts
Robbins sent a three-run home run over the center-field wall in the first inning and finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs. 

Central (16-10, 9-5 Region 6-7A) remains in first place in the region after a Lambert loss to South Forsyth keeps the Bulldogs ahead by a tiebreaker. 

However, Denmark is now only half a game from first place and North Forsyth is only one game back from the region lead

“We just have to play better baseball,” McCollum said. “Need to have cleaner games to be competitive. We brought it within a run and I think if we played cleaner, we win that game.”

West (12-13, 7-7 Region 6-7A) remains in fifth place, just one game behind North Forsyth for fourth place and a berth to the state tournament. 

In fact, the win puts them just two games back from Central for the region title.

“The region’s up for grabs, for sure,” Ernst said. “Anybody’s in it at this point. We’re gonna throw our best on Wednesday and try to go win that one, too.” 

Central travels to North Forsyth to take on the Raiders on Wednesday, while West travels to South Forsyth. Both games start at 6:15 p.m.