West Forsyth senior catcher Alana Frye had three chances to watch South Forsyth ace pitcher Katherine Huey under the pressures of an extra inning international tiebreaker Thursday, and soon enough she recognized a pattern. As the Lady Wolverines loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Frye saw Huey pound the outside corner of the plate.
Frye adjusted accordingly. She crowded the plate and waited for the outside pitch. It came on a 2-2 count, and Frye drove it into right field to score Grace Martin from third and give West a 1-0 walk-off victory against South in eight innings at home in a Region 5-7A game.
Frye rounded first base and pounded her fist in the air before teammates mobbed her in front of second base.
“I just tried not to be nervous,” Frye said. “I knew she was going to throw me an outside pitch to try to get me out. So I crowded the plate and took the outside pitch. I knew it.”
The win relieved a number of frustrations for West (10-9, 5-4). It got the Lady Wolverines back over .500 in the region and within a game of South (8-7, 6-3) for second place. It ended a six-game losing streak to the Lady War Eagles dating back to Sept. 26, 2013. And it atoned for West’s most recent loss to South when it allowed nine runs in the first inning and looked overwhelmed and overmatched.
Lady Wolverines starting pitcher Hannah Guthrie authored a redemptive performance, scattering just four hits and two walks over eight shutout innings, and she worked out of tight rope moments in the second and third. Fyre and Martin each went 2-for-3, and West got a hit each from Carlie Behan, Bailley Concatto and Lauren Crowe.
“For what they did to us last time, I’m super proud,” West head coach Justin Rickett said.
Huey didn’t make it easy. The Purdue commit matched Guthrie over seven innings, scattering five hits and striking out seven. Every West opportunity was short-lived.
Crowe led off the second inning with a single to center, was bunted over by Abbey Poe and moved to third on a groundout from Kelsey Schell but was left stranded. Concatto singled in the third and stole second but moved no further. Frye led off the fourth with a double but never budged. Behan led off the sixth with a single to right, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Frye but was called for runner interference trying to reach third on a grounder to the shortstop. Chance after chance spoiled.
So West made the most of its chance in extra innings. Bailee Martin started at second base, per international tiebreaker rules. Grace Martin dropped a perfect bunt single that advanced Bailee to third. Concatto was intentionally walked to load the bases. Bailee Martin was forced out at home on a grounder by Behan.
With one out and the bases still loaded, Frye stepped up to the plate. Her swing on Huey’s 2-2 pitch was short but her contact was true as the ball sliced into shallow right field.
“It’s just crazy,” Frye said. “We all came together. We were there for one another, and we picked each other up more this time.”
Frye sent West into euphoria and South into a silent walk off the field.
“We lost the game offensively,” South head coach Ronnie Davis said. “We had opportunities to have not even a hit and score a run, and we didn’t put a quality swing on things. That’s the bottom line.”