LMS small ball attack quiets Rockets
LMS head coach Frank Musgrave had a game plan coming into the intra-county rivalry contest versus Forrest Tuesday night in Lewisburg and it worked to almost perfection as the Tigers went small ball on offense to capture a 9-1 win over the Rockets.
"I told them yesterday that we were probably going to play some ball and that is you've seen," said Musgrave. "My first three batters put down bunts and all three of them put it down exactly like I wanted them to and that is what we worked on, so I couldn't ask for anything more."
Brayden Gentry was stellar in his starting stint on the hill for Lewisburg, tossing 4 1/3 innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits, while whiffing three Rockets' batters and walking five.
"Brayden threw an outstanding game, he actually went longer than we had him go yet and he did fantastic," said Musgrave.
Jay Lyons came on in the top of the fifth inning with bases loaded and one out and proceeded to get out of that jam before breaking off curve ball after curve ball to finish the job, giving up just one hit the rest of the way.
Gentry escaped a small jam in top of the first before the Tigers caught FMS off guard as Jay Howard led off the home half of the first with a bunt and scampered all the way to third after a late throw to first base sailed into the right field corner.
Brett McGehee followed with another perfect bunt to reach first base and Howard crossed home plate on the play to open up the scoring.
Logan Bailey dropped another bunt and was out at first, but McGehee scampered all the way to third on the play.
Thomas Hawkins walked and stole second before Gentry and Trent Richardson followed with back-to-back RBI fielder's choices.
FMS starter Jonathan Lykins got an inning ending strikeout before a pitcher's duel ensued between Lykins and Gentry that ended when the Tigers exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the game on ice.
Knox Barnes started the rally with a base hit as the Tigers sent nine batters to the dish in the inning with Hawkins, Gentry, and Richardson providing RBI base knocks, putting LMS up 8-0.
Back-to-back one walks by Jordan Jent and Luke Cunningham, followed by a base hit by Jacob Jones, loaded the sacks full of Rockets in the top of the fifth and an infield error sent pinch runner Hunter Beckman home as FMS threatened.
Musgrave called on Lyons and he answered by retiring the next two Forrest hitters to extinguish the fire.
LMS scored one more run in the bottom of the sixth and with the win, the Tigers improved to 7-1 on the season.
It was the final regular season game for Forrest (14-3), who will open up Mid-South Conference Tournament play on Monday at Liberty with start time scheduled for 4p.m. versus an undetermined opponent at press time.
"We didn't show up to play," said FMS head Coach Bart Joyce. "Whenever you give up three unearned runs up, it's hard to come back after that. You have to play ball, you gotta come and show up to play, and you have to start on the first pitch, you can't wait for the second or third inning. It is tough to come over here and play like that, but that's baseball. I think this is an eye opener for us."
Jones had three out the four hits for Forrest in the contest.
Howard went 2-2 with two bases on balls and three runs scored, Gentry had two hits in four at bats with a pair of RBIs, and Richardson also had two hits and knocked in two.
Hawkins had one hit, two ribbies, walked once and scored once, while Austin Wood, Jacob Autry, and Barnes all had one hit apiece for LMS.