ALPHARETTA – The Georgia High School Association baseball playoffs have yet to begin, but West Forsyth has been postseason mode since Wednesday, when a crucial three-game stretch against Region 6-AAAAAA opponents began.
The road to the playoffs was simple yet difficult: win all three games and get in, lose one and be eliminated.
"I told them, ‘Here’s the deal: if you don’t come out here and do our jobs, our year will be over,’" West head coach Mike Pruitt said.
With the season on the line Friday, West dominated Alpharetta for the second straight night winning 11-2 to punch its postseason ticket.
The Wolverines took care of business on Wednesday and Thursday, beating North and Alpharetta, 9-3 and 10-0, respectively.
This will be the third trip West has made to the postseason in program history, which started in 2008.
"Our kids have really done a great job responding these last three games," said Pruitt. "There are a lot of teams that are done, and we’re still playing. That feels great."
The Wolverines scored 10 runs in two innings on Thursday and accomplished the same in Friday’s rematch, giving them 30 runs over the course of these last three games.
Alec Wilson had four of those runs to go along with two RBIs. He knocked a lead-off homer during Friday’s contest to stake West to an early advantage.
However, the Raiders scored a run in the second and forth, giving them a 2-1 edge more than half-way through the game. But once again, Wilson ignited the Wolverines’ big rally with an RBI single in the fifth, and soon crossed the plate himself as West batted around the order.
"I felt good," Wilson said. "We got hot at the right time and are really excited. It was up and down for us for a while, and I’m just happy and excited to try and make a run."
These offensive outbursts were welcoming sights for Wolverine pitchers, who rarely faced pressure-packed situations. The tough inning came early on Friday, when Alpharetta loaded the bases in the second with one down. A strikeout and two straight grounders The Raiders only came away from that frame with one run.
Connor Milford and Austin Shea started on Thursday and Friday, respectively, giving up just three combined hits. Chris Cullen, who scored four total runs in the two match-ups versus Alpharetta, shut the door with a 1-2-3 seventh on Friday.
"We cashed in on some big hits after getting runners on base," Pruitt said. "You do that and get your pitchers an early lead, and it makes everything a lot easier. [Milford] been great for us all year … [Shea] pitched out of some jams and did a great job."
West will begin its playoff slate at Parkview, which will be no easy task. The Wolverines do have a lot of momentum to work with, though, and should give the Panthers a run for their money.
"Parkview is a great team with a great tradition," Pruitt said. "And we’re going to go over there and get right in the middle of their tradition."