Rockets sweep Cascade, vault to second pace

Friday, April 20, 2012
Forrest leadoff man Austin Harber (4) drills the eventual game-winning hit in the third inning as the Rockets completed the sweep over Cascade with a 3-1 win. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

On Monday, the Forrest Rockets came away with a huge 5-4 win in Wartrace with Zach Horvath picking up the win on the mound, and after a one-day wait because of rain on Tuesday, the two squads squared off in Chapel Hill on Wednesday where the Rockets completed the sweep over the Champions with a 3-1 victory.

With the pair of wins over the Champs, the Rockets (12-10, 7-3) vaulted to second place in the District 9-A standings, one game behind league leader Eagleville (20-4, 6-2) with Cascade one game back of the Rockets, who now hold the tiebreaker over the orange and black.

"We were hoping to at least spilt with them, but a sweep is a lot better," said Forrest head coach Babe Hardison. "It's been a while since we have, they are a good ball club."

Paten Pruitt (7) gets congratulations from his teammates after scoring their first run as thee Rockets scratched Pruitt home on a Jacob Daughrity sacrifice fly in the second inning.

Rocket ace Zach Brewer surrendered just one run Wednesday night, coming via a Gavin Elmore first-inning RBI single that scored Daniel McBee, who was hit by a Brewer pitch before stealing second base.

"Brewer threw a heck of a ballgame today and Horvath threw one Monday that enabled us to get the sweep," said Hardison.

After the McBee run scored, Brewer cruised through the next four innings before the Champions would threaten again in the top of the sixth.

Forrest Zach Brewer (6) turned in another solid effort on the hill for the Rockets, tossing a four-hit, complete game, while striking out seven, walking one, and beaning two Champion batters in the Rockets' big 3-1 win Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.

Meanwhile, Cascade starter Ryan Rippy set FHS down 1-2-3 in the first, but in the second the Rockets scratched across the tying run, beginning with a leadoff single by Paten Pruitt.

Rocket backstop Richard Hardin laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving Pruitt to second and a passed ball sent Pruitt to third where Jacob Daughrity knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to center.

Hardison said, "You can tell early if you have to scratch those runs out and this was one of those games, and sometimes when you can scratch a few out, you can win a ballgame like this."

In the home half of the third, FHS shortstop Thaddeus Reyes worked a walk off Rippy and went to second on a passed ball before Austin Harber delivered the eventual game-winner when he drilled a single down the left field line, scoring Reyes to make it 2-1.

Brewer faced just seven batters over the next two frames and in the bottom of the fifth, Forrest scored an insurance run as Brewer drove home Horvath with a one-bouncer over the center field fence for a ground-rule double.

Cascade would not give up easily as Jared Carkuff worked a leadoff walk and Elmore followed with a single up the middle to make it first and second with no outs.

Carkuff baited Forrest into a steal of third before Brewer bowed up and whiffed the next two Cascade batters.

Brewer, taking a sign from Ryan Dauighrity at third base, pivoted and fired to Daughrity, who applied the third-out tag on a shocked Carkuff for the rare pick-off play at the hot corner.

The Champions would get two on with two outs in the seventh, but once again Brewer was too strong, striking out McBee for the final out, with runners on first and second.

Brewer gave up four hits in the contest, while striking out seven, walking one, and beaning two Cascade batters.

Harber went 2-3 with the winning hit and stole a base, Brewer managed two hits in three at bats with an RBI double, and Pruitt (1-3, run scored) and Hardin (1-2, sac bunt) had the other two base knocks for the Rockets, who travel to Summertown on Thursday and over to Columbia Academy on Saturday where they will take on Hickman County in the first game of the Bulldog Classic.