As West Forsyth head softball coach Justin Rickett addressed his team on Thursday, the sun set behind the trees at Midway Park. Thanks to the Wolverines' result that night, the same metaphor couldn't be applied to their season -- not then, at least.
West beat Forsyth Central 7-1, keeping the Wolverines' chances of a playoff berth out of Region 5-7A alive, for a few minutes more. They moved to 5-8 in the region with two region games to play and would need to win out and have Lambert, over whom they hold a tiebreaker, lose its last three games.
"All we can control is what we can control," Rickett said. "We put ourselves in this situation. We need a little help."
The Wolverines (7-15, 5-8 Region 5-7A) had a promising start to their region slate this year, going 3-2 through their first five games, but they skidded hard through the second portion of the schedule, going 0-5.
West's pitching has helped boost it in recent games, though. Avery Wassilcak tossed a shutout against Lambert on Sept. 19 to give the Wolverines a 1-0 win and the season series victory, and Hannah Guthrie, coming off a week of rest, blazed past the Bulldogs (13-7, 7-5) on Thursday, allowing just three hits in the game.
"I think (Hannah) is finally back pitching like she did last year," Rickett said.
And the Wolverines' bats, which have lagged behind most of the county during the season, had a productive night against the Bulldogs' Bailey McCachren, who had carried a 1.79 ERA into the game. RBI singles from Kelsey Schell and Carlie Beehan started the scoring in the third inning for the Wolverines, and after Ashley Schell singled home a run in the fourth, West put up three more runs in the sixth to pull away.
Guthrie said the Wolverines were feeling the urgency of their situation, with winning out being their only way to have more than the next three games.
"It's kind of hitting everyone that it's coming to an end and we have seniors that we're going to lose," Guthrie said. "Everyone's just going to miss each other. But we're enjoying it."
The sun set at 7:25 on Thursday, and soon after that, the Wolverines' season followed suit. Lambert beat North Forsyth approximately 35 minutes after West beat Central, eliminating West from the playoff race.