HOSCHTON — Seniors Rachel Duden and Tonya Evans each had extra-base, three-run hits to power Flowery Branch over South Forsyth 8-1 in their first game of the Hawk/Bulldog Invitational on Wednesday at Mill Creek.
After a slow start offensively and trailing 1-0, the Falcons (3-1, 0-1 Region 8-AAAA) came alive in the bottom of the fourth. Casey Zoeller walked to start the inning and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chandler Duckworth. Catlin Fowler singled and advanced to second thanks to heads up base running.
A walk by Jessica Thomas loaded the bases for the Falcons.
Duden then singled to bring in the first run of the game, which was followed by a three-run, bases-clearing double by Evans to give Flowery Branch a 4-1 lead.
The Lady Falcons added three more runs the next inning when Duden cleared the bases on a three-run double.
Flower singled in the bottom of the sixth to bring in Megan Albini from third for their eighth run of the game.
Falcons coach Laura Novotny-Beaver was pleased with the performance of her seniors in the game.
“I think the senior really stepped up because they have been struggling early on,” she said. “They were able to step it up tonight and lead way for the younger players to do the little things like executing bunts and putting the ball in play to get runners in.”
She also gave credit to her starting pitcher, freshman Mary Simmons Mills, who held the Eagles to just one run on eight hits in her first varsity appearance. Although in trouble at times, including facing bases-loaded situations twice with less than two outs, Mills stayed composed and got the job done on the mound for the Falcons.
“For her to come out and do that, we couldn’t have been any prouder,” Novotny-Beaver said. “I think she was confident enough in her defense and I think the girls did a good job of picking her up and making sure she was ok to keep her in there.”
According to Novotny-Beaver, her team played a solid game and played the best they have at this early point in the season.
“It was a team effort. I think the girls really came together tonight. South Forsyth is always a tough team so it was good to get the win tonight.”
Flowery Branch moves to 3-1 on the season, with their only loss coming at the hands of new region foe Winder-Barrow on Tuesday. The Falcons face Mill Creek at 5 p.m. today for their second game of the four-day Hawk/Bulldog Invitational hosted by Mill Creek and North Gwinnett.