Brookwood defeats North Forsyth

When it came time to choose a starting pitcher for his team’s biggest game of the season, Brookwood coach Rick Howard didn’t delay in appointing Allen Tokarz, even though the junior never had experienced such a pressure-packed situation.

Tokarz didn’t disappoint his coach or his teammates, as the right-hander kept North Forsyth off balance through six innings and led the Broncos to an 8-4 victory in the deciding game of their Class AAAAA first-round series in Snellville. Tokarz (2-1-1) allowed only four hits and no earned runs, before giving way to reliever Luke Sims, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

“He threw great,” Howard said. “He competed, and that’s what we wanted in that situation. That’s what our kids wanted. I like his demeanor, and he got great run support.”

Tokarz’s finest moment may have been the bottom of the sixth, when he retired Trent Riddle on a called third strike with a full count and two runners on base. A mistake there would have loaded the bases for Clemson signee Tyler Slaton, who already had two hits. Slaton instead came to bat with the bases empty to lead off the final inning.

Brookwood pounded out 17 hits, but ran itself out of several scoring opportunities with poor base-running decisions.

They got it right in the third, striking for three runs on a triple by Zac Rinehart that hit halfway up the fence in dead center field, a single by Nick Moore and a single by Mike Gouge.

Rinehart (3-for-4, two RBIs, three runs scored) Moore (3-for-4, two RBIs, two runs scored) and Gouge (3-for-4) anchored the heart of a lineup that went 11-for-16.

“We hit the ball well,” Howard said. “I’d like to see us get our run production up. We had some blunders, but that’s OK if they’re giving an effort. It all depends on how they respond. And the kids were being aggressive, which is what you want them to do.”

The middle of the North Forsyth lineup couldn’t get much going. They were a collective 1-for-13. The Raiders’ two pitchers battled through adversity throughout the game. Tyler Welch was the losing pitcher. He allowed eight hits, four runs (three earned) in three innings. Trevor Sams pitched the final four innings and allowed seven hits and four runs, only two of them earned.

Brookwood (21-7-1) won the first game of the best-of-three series 10-2 on Friday, but North Forsyth (19-10) bounced back to take the nightcap 6-2. The Broncos advance to the second round to play the winner of the Lassiter-Peachtree Ridge series.