Forrest Coach Babe Hardison was definitely not overjoyed by the performance of his squad versus Culleoka on Monday, but as they say in sports, any win is a good win. The Rockets took a commanding early lead and then had to hold on for the victory that put them 7-11 on the year and in a good position in third place at 4-2 in District 9-A.
Rare call erases first inning runs
The game had many twists and turns and the first weird event took place in the first inning as Culleoka put runners on first and second with two outs. Warrior catcher Josh Weber came to the plate and laced a bullet to right-center, just out of the reach of Brian Whitley. The apparent two run double was erased by the home plate umpire who called Weber out of the batters box to end the inning. Needless to say, Culleoka manager Mike Kinnard was furious as he argued the call to no avail.
Jacob Davis led off the bottom of the first with an infield single, but was stranded on base and the first inning ended scoreless.
Forrest starting pitcher Andy Burkett, who pitched a great game, retired the Warriors in order in the top of the second. With one out in the bottom of the second, the Rockets exploded as Colin Henson singled to center, Seth Brothers followed with a single in the hole, and Burkett laced an RBI double to right-center to make it 1-0. Micah Phifer made it 3-0 with a single to right field that cleared the sacks.
Davis lashed his second hit of the game to center to put runners on first and second and "Dickie" Arceneaux doubled to left field, driving in both runners to make it 5-0. Arceneaux stole second and came home on a Warrior error to give the Rockets a commanding 6-0 lead.
The Warriors rallied in the in the top of the third on back to back singles by Daniel Wray and David Spare with one out and Wray scored on a wild throw on the back end of an attempted double play by the Rockets to make it 6-1. The Rockets did not score in the bottom of the inning.
Warriors score four more in fourth
The Warriors came back in the top of the fourth, beginning with a sun-blinding infield single by Steven Andrews and a double down the left field line by Jason Andrews to put runners on second and third. Jacob Scott hit a bouncer to third that Phifer handled and made the throw to first, but Culleoka scored a run as Forrest fumbled the throw home and the runner from third scored.
A single to center by Hunter Morrow made it 6-3, a walk and an error loaded the bases and Jake Flatt drove home two more with a shot to right-field that put the Warriors within one run at 6-5.
Forrest threatened in the bottom of the inning, putting two runners on, but Culleoka shortstop Scott made a nice play in short right on a sun-ball to end the inning.
Both hurlers pitched a scoreless fifth inning and the game remained 6-5 in favor of the Rockets.
Burkett was again masterful in the top of the sixth as he gave up one single and he was helped on two great defensive plays by Colin Henson at shortstop to get out of the inning.
Rockets get important insurance run
Forrest got the all-important insurance run in the bottom of the inning as Davis laced a leadoff double down the first base line for his third hit of the game. Chase Beaulieu legged out a bunt single to put runners on first and third and Arceneaux drove Davis home from third on a fielder's choice RBI to make it 7-5.
Forrest got a big scare in the top of the seventh as Garrett Flatt led off the inning with a towering homerun to right field that made it 7-6. The Rockets almost self destructed as they committed two errors and Culleoka had runners at first and third with one out. Lady luck was on their side as Scott lined a ball to Brothers at second and he threw to first to catch the Warrior runner wandering off first for the game ending double play.
Burkett, who hung in there the entire contest, said after the game, "I felt good and ready; Kris Albarran was calling good signs all day. The change-up to Flatt on the homerun was my fault." Burkett added, "It feels good to finally get out with a win, we don't have any easy teams on our schedule. I have the utmost confidence in my teammates and we will get it done in the District tournament and we will get revenge on Cascade."