West Forsyth’s softball team will live to play another day.
Thanks to a six-run fifth inning, the Wolverines jumped far ahead of Milton in Tuesday’s losers’ bracket knockout game in the Region 5-7A tournament, taking an 8-4 win at North Forsyth High School.
West, who lost to Lambert to open the tournament, will now face the loser of Tuesday’s Forsyth Central-Lambert game for a chance to play for a playoff spot. For the Wolverines, Tuesday’s contest ended a five-game losing skid, which had its roots in a struggling offense that was shut out three times in that span.
“I’m proud of our kids,” West head coach Justin Rickett said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit. The hardest thing to end in this sport is a streak, whether it’s a good one or a bad one, and we went on a good one. It was big for us to break the streak.”
The Wolverines had a 2-1 lead over the Eagles heading into the bottom of the fifth when the team that struggled to find hits over the past month found a boatload. After loading the bases with no outs, Avery Wassilchek brought in Emily Kraft and Hannah Guthrie to expand the lead to 4-1. The West hits and the Milton errors just continued from there, with Gracie Martin hitting a two-RBI single of her own. Heading into the sixth, the Wolverines were in full control, up 8-1.
“That’s how we practice, so I really think we just relaxed and everybody was just kind of chilling out,” West catcher Emily Kraft said.
Milton was able to make it interesting in the final frame of play, loading the bases and scoring three runs on singles, but with a very comfortable lead, Guthrie was able to settle in and secure the win.
“It’s never good to give up runs but we were fortunate to score enough so we could give up a few,” Rickett said.
While scoring was abundant in the game’s latter stages, that wasn’t the case for the game’s first half. Milton struck first in the second with an RBI single by Carly McSween that scored Victoria O’Keefe. West responded in the next half inning, with Gracie Martin executing a squeeze bunt to bring in Wassilchak from third. The Wolverines took the lead they’d never give up in the third off an error at shortstop that scored Martin.
Wassilchak finished 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Guthrie went 3-for-3 with three singles and a walk.
On Wednesday, the Wolverines’ backs will be against the wall again. They're hoping their new streak of offensive success will stick around for a while.
“I think if we stick together and just cheer everybody on, we should be good,” Kraft said.