It was close early, but West Forsyth's bats came alive late Thursday night to earn a 9-1 win over Forsyth Central to sweep the season series against the region newcomer.
The Lady Wolverines (12-12, 7-6 Region 5-7A) scored five runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to prevent a seventh frame on defense. Hits were hard to come by early against Central's Bailey McCachren, but by game's end West managed to have eight of nine batters record at least a single against a total of three pitchers.
The game was tied 1-1 and McCachren had allowed just two hits before West put up five hits and two walks in the bottom of the fifth. Bailley Concatto singled to score Kelsey Schell, who led off the inning, then Gracie Martin—who reached on a powerful double—and Concatto came home on a throwing error to make the score 3-1. Lauren Crowe then scored Carlie Behan on an RBI single, then Kayla Hardy earned a walk and RBI, bringing home Alana Frye with the bags loaded.
Schell brought home Martin in the sixth, then Schell scored off an Alana Frye double and her courtesy runner—Arynn Pickvet—came home on an error to end the game.
Central (7-15, 3-10) had success with McCachren before, against Lambert, and it looked like her rising pitches were giving West fits early on. West head coach Justin Rickett said he didn't have to do any coaching to get the bats to come alive—he just knew his players were patient enough to adapt.
“They did a great job of adjusting,” Rickett said. “It wasn't any type of coaching on my part or anything. They just really stuck with it. We were definitely having trouble with (McCachren) early on.”
West pitcher Hannah Guthrie allowed three hits, one walk and struck out four to earn the win on the mound, while Central's Gina Fishler and Emma Ohstrom put in relief work in the final two frames. McCachren finished allowing seven hits, four walks and striking out two in 4.2 innings.
Concatto, Frye, Crowe, Abbey Poe, Hardy and Schell all finished with an RBI for West, while Behan (2 for 3) and Martin (1-2, 2B) had two runs scored, a piece. Frye and Poe also had doubles, and Crowe finished 2-4 at the plate.
Central's Karah Straub stood out going 2-2 and making an early, clutch diving catch in deep left field, preventing a run from scoring from second. Central scored the game's first run in the second when Caroline Williams singled to score Gracie Smith. West came back with the tying run in the fourth when Poe's double brought home Behan.
West is still comfortably in the playoff seedings and is almost guaranteed to have a road playoff series to start.
“We still have things to work on. We have to keep getting better every day,” Rickett said. “The teams that make it far in the playoffs find a way to give a little something extra when they get there.”
For Central head coach Kaelin Farrington, this season's run through the new region schedule has exposed plenty of good and bad.
“We've competed, but we always have that one inning that gets us, and that was certainly the case tonight. We just need to find a way to play a full game and execute. I can't say enough about how proud I am of the girls though. No matter what they always have the right attitude and keep fighting.”