West Forsyth spring sports roundup: Baseball falls at No. 1 Roberson in NCHSAA Class 4-A quarterfinals to end season

Published 9:38 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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By Jay Spivey 

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — The West Forsyth baseball team’s season came to an end last week after it lost in the quarterfinals of the NCHSAA Class 4-A tournament at Asheville Roberson. 

However, the Titans (23-7) had plenty of highs last week to go with the loss on Friday night.  

West Forsyth, which was the No. 12 seed in Class 4-A West, was scheduled to play at rival and No. 4-seed Reagan last Tuesday night in the third round of the playoffs. However, rain pushed it back two days to Thursday night. And instead of playing at Reagan (22-5), the game was played Thursday night at David F. Couch Ballpark, which is the home stadium for Wake Forest.  

“Anytime you’ve got playoffs and weather involved you’ve just got to be ready to play,” Coach Kevin McIntosh said. “And it was difficult. It made it – we had to adjust practice plans. We had to adjust the schedule obviously. Overall, I thought we handled all situations well with the cancellation on Tuesday, cancellation on Wednesday, game being moved to Wake Forest on Thursday. 

“And after having the big victory then, having to bounce back and drive to Asheville (on Friday). And we get to Asheville, and we got an hour delay up there again because of weather and rain. You know, it was a bad weather week.” 

Through all the adversity there was a bright spot on Thursday against Reagan. Jack Vest, the senior ace of the West Forsyth pitching staff, pitched 62/3 innings, gave up no runs on two hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk to help West Forsyth win 5-0.  

“I would definitely put that up as, if not his best outing, then one of his best outings he’s had in his high school career,” McIntosh said.  

The Titans scored two runs in the first inning and added two more in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead.  

“Anytime you can get runs early against a good ball team it definitely makes things a little bit easier,” McIntosh said. “We came out, we got two in the first, then two in the (second) and get in their bullpen in the second inning. And Jack was dominating. He was lights out and just really calmed the nerves of our whole team.” 

West Forsyth tacked on an insurance run in the fourth inning to push the lead to 5-0.  

“After we went up 4-0, and especially when we got the sac fly that made it 5-0 and Jack on the mound, you know, in my mind I was feeling pretty good about the situation. I felt as a team we just fed off that confidence.” 

Vest reached the mandated pitch count with two outs in the seventh, and McIntosh came out to relieve him. As Vest walked off the crowd gave him a standing ovation.  

“It was awesome,” McIntosh said. “The large crowd that was there, and Jack being a senior, having put us in that situation to win that ballgame, it was awesome. And very emotional for him and me, I think, but it was a special moment.” 

Logan Rodriguez relieved Vest and threw two pitches to end the game, which advanced West Forsyth to play at No. 1-seed and defending state-champion Asheville Roberson (24-4).  

“Anytime you get to play in the fourth round of the playoffs it’s exciting. It’s special for the team, for the program, the school,” McIntosh said. “When you beat a conference opponent, a conference rival in the third round to get to that fourth round, makes it a little bit more special.  

“I guess the bad part really was didn’t have time to enjoy it because we were on the bus at 11 a.m. Friday morning headed to T.C. (Roberson).” 

After the weather delay on Friday night, West Forsyth took a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. However, the lead was short-lived. McIntosh said Roberson scored seven runs in the bottom of the first to take a 7-1 lead and won 8-5. 

“They had three or four hits and we made two errors and missed the bunt coverage” McIntosh said. “So, it wasn’t that (starter) Greyson Jones threw terrible. It wasn’t like he walked a whole bunch. It was combination of them putting the ball in play, us not executing defensively like we have all year long, and next thing I know it’s 7-1.” 

The Titans were able to claw back, but the deficit was too large. 

“And then we got out, we post five straight zeroes against them, and they scored the eighth run in the bottom of the sixth inning,” McIntosh said. 

So, after the game the team walked on the bus after the agony of losing and had its season end just 24 hours after the ecstasy of beating Reagan in the third round. 

“You had probably your highest point of the season on Thursday night when you beat Reagan, and obviously anytime you get knocked out of the playoffs, especially in a deep run, it’s a low point,” McIntosh said. “But I felt again, our kids battled, our kids fought hard and didn’t give up and didn’t quit. And obviously as a coaching staff that’s something that we’re proud of, and hopefully we can build and learn from that as we move forward with the younger guys on the team. And they can learn from a group of seniors not to quit.” 

Girls soccer

The West Forsyth girls soccer team played the first two rounds of the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs last week in Clemmons and had narrow wins against rival Davie County last Monday in the first round and Waxhaw Cuthbertson last Thursday in the second round. 

West Forsyth defeated Davie County, the No. 30 seed, 2-1 last Monday night with a goal from Gretchen Grider with 10 seconds remaining. 

“We had a free kick with 14 seconds to go in the game,” said Coach Jeffrey Williams of the Titans (17-3-1). “And it was a low-driven ball that the keeper batted out, and Gretchen Grider followed it up and put it in the back of the net with 10 seconds to go in regulation.” 

However, Davie County (7-9-2) took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal by Lanna Robertson. 

“Sometime toward the end of the first half, or middle to end of the first half, they had a person who got past, there was a little bit of indeciveness from our defense — got past one defender, then got past another defender, and then slid it past the goalie,” Coach Jeffrey Williams of West Forsyth said. “We were down going into halftime and several minutes after halftime.” 

Kramer tied the game, as Williams said, in the middle third of the second half. 

“Good story, actually,” Williams said. “On senior night, Halie Kramer and Gretchen Grider against Reynolds scored their first goals of their careers at West Forsyth. Hallie Kramer moved here from Wisconsin this summer, so it was her first year.  

“But on Monday night against Davie Hallie Kramer and Gretchen Grider scored our two goals.” 

West Forsyth advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs last Thursday night in Clemmons against No. 14 Waxhaw Cuthbertson, which defeated No. 19 Lake Norman 3-0 in the first round last Monday. 

West Forsyth defeated Cuthbertson 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Aislynn Maguire in the first overtime.  

“We were reeling a little bit, but then I felt the break in overtime really just, it seemed like we come out a little energized,” Williams said. “And we were able to, about, I think it was about 4 minutes, 5 minutes into the first (10-minute) overtime we were able to get the ball and drop it back and try to hit our forward.  

“And our forward made a movement like she was going to flick it. I don’t if she actually touched it or not, but the ball actually went behind her. And then Aislynn Maguire went in behind their defense and took a touch and buried it in the back post.” 

West Forsyth still had to kill 15-16 minutes between the of the first overtime and the end of the second overtime. 

“We had 14, 15, 16 extra minutes to go,” Williams said. “We held on.” 

The Titans took a 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the first half after a corner kick by Kramer. Sarah Newton of the Cavaliers (12-7-2) tied it with about 10 minutes left in the first half. 

After defeating Cuthbertson, West Forsyth played host to No. 6 Waxhaw Marvin Ridge (11-4-5) in Monday’s third round. 

Not only is Marvin Ridge in the same city as Cuthbertson, it’s also in the same conference – the Southern Carolina 4-A. Marvin Ridge finished tied in the conference with Weddington, and Cuthbertson finished third. Weddington, which was the No. 10 seed in the Class 4-A playoffs, lost to No. 26 Charlotte Myers Park 1-0 in the second round. 

Marvin Ridge defeated Cuthbertson 3-2 in the first meeting, but Cuthbertson won the second meeting 1-0.  

“They play very similar styles,” Williams said of Marvin Ridge and Cuthbertson. “And so, for us, it’s hey, ‘Like, you know, we’re going to go and we’re going to see something very similar. Different players do different things for them, but I think it gives us confidence. We’re at home and we haven’t lost at home this year.” 

The winner of Monday’s game was scheduled to play in Thursday’s quarterfinals against the winner of Monday’s other game between Myers Park (10-7-1) at No. 2 Cornelius Hough (22-1-1). If West Forsyth defeats Marvin Ridge and Hough holds serve against Myers Park, the game will be at Hough. If West Forsyth wins and Myers Park defeats Hough the game will be at West Forsyth.