CUMMING — In the race for second place in Region 7-AAA, West Forsyth is sprinting to the finish.
The Lady Wolverines won their ninth straight region game and fourth straight overall Wednesday, beating a flu-stricken Flowery Branch team, 7-2.
West coach Byron Orr sounded more like a losing skipper after the game, and was quick to point out that the Falcons weren’t firing on all nine, with four missing starters due to illness.
“That probably helped us tonight, because that’s probably the sloppiest, ugliest game we’ve played all year,” Orr said.
“I mean, we had dropped balls, we had passed balls, we had dropped fly balls in the infield between the catcher and the pitcher, we had nobody covering first on a bunt, we had an error (where the) shortstop didn’t get the fly ball when they should have over here. Just ugly ... But a win’s a win, and it’s a big win.”
With the victory, West Forsyth moved to 12-7 on the year and 9-2 in the region, still on pace to tie for second.
The timing of the flu bout has been lousy for Flowery Branch, who entered the week at 8-2 in region play before dropping two games in two days. The Falcons left West Forsyth 13-11-1 on the year and 8-4 in the region.
“We were pretty strong and now we’ve hit a hole,” Flowery Branch coach Valerie Lancaster said. “Our goal is to get everybody back safe and comfortable and not sick, and then be strong next week (in the region tournament).”
West Forsyth set the tone for the game early, busting out with five runs in the bottom of the first. The Wolverines recorded six hits in the frame off Falcons starter Cally Orr, with the biggest coming off the bat of Rachel Kirby, who hit a two RBI double that just beat the outfielder to the left field wall to make it 4-0 with two outs.
Hillary Keller (2-for-3, two RBIs), Nikki Erdely (2-for-3 with a double) and Kelsie Fowler (2-for-3 with a double and RBI) all got RBI base hits in the inning.
The lead went to 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Kallie Martin hit a sacrifice fly with runners at the corners to score Fowler, and Keller drove in her second run with a laser to left field, bringing Ashley Mims around from second.
Roxie Dalton held West Forsyth scoreless in three innings of relief to give her team a chance at the comeback.
Flowery Branch responded with a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Rachel Duden (3-for-3, walk, RBI) and one in the seventh on an RBI fielders choice from Daijan Freeman.
The Falcons had the bases loaded with one out in the first and second-and-third with one out in the third, but couldn’t convert.
“We’re putting some new batters in key positions and when we do get our runners on, they’re not able to produce because they’re not seeing pitching like that in JV,” Lancaster said.
Martin and Hannah Weldy combined to hold the Falcons to six hits. Martin struck out seven in four innings.
“Kallie in the first couple (innings), she’d come up with a strikeout when we needed it, or we’d come up and finally make a play that we needed and keep them from scoring and they didn’t get the big hit,” West Forsyth’s coach said.
The Wolverines play their final region game today at East Hall before finishing up the regular season Friday against county foe Forsyth Central.
With their regular season complete, the Falcons look ahead to next week’s region tournament at Lanier Point.