Cougars top Rockets in close district shave

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Forrest senior southpaw Zach Horvath tosses a pitch versus MTCS at the District 9-A Tournament final Thursday night in Murfreesboro. Photo courtesy of The Daily News Journal

The Forrest Rockets went toe-to-toe for the District 9-A Tournament title with the MTCS Cougars in Murfreesboro Thursday, losing a close 3-2 ballgame.

"The team that made the least mistakes won," said Forrest head coach Chris Parker. "We walked a couple batters that scored and we helped them out by not being able to execute picking a runner off first base."

The Rockets (23-12) travel to District 10-A champion White House Heritage for the opening round of the Region 5-A Tournament tonight.

The winner plays at least two more games, including a TSSAA Sectional contest on Friday, while the loser will see the end of the season.

'Good character'

"I feel like we are a team of good character," said Parker. The boys will bounce back tonight and play hard for the incentives of a chance to beat MTCS for a region title, and a chance to play for a state tourney berth."

It was a classic pitcher's duel on Friday as Zach Horvath and Philip Bonabi locked horns, holding each other's offense scoreless until Forrest broke through with Horvath knocking Tanner Garvin in the top of the third inning.

From left, Forrest all-district award winners Logan Hollingsworth, Jacob Daughrity, Zach Horvath, and Alex Brewer stand with Forrest head coach Chris Parker, center, after the Rockets fell 3-2 at MTCS on Thursday. Photo submitted

Horvath gave up a leadoff double to Oakley Starling in the home half of the inning and was in real trouble when Starling took third on a wayward pickoff attempt.

Horvath came up huge with a strikeout, a ground ball back to the mound, and an inning ending fly ball to Ryan Yelensky in right field.

Tight clash

Bonabi's only blemish in the fourth inning was an Austin Harber two-out single, but the FHS catcher was erased on a steal attempt.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Cougars took a 2-1 lead on a sac fly RBI by Caleb Gibson and the go-ahead two-out RBI base knock by Lawson Pits.

The Rockets could not break through in the fifth, while the Cougars added an insurance run in the home half of the inning on an RBI single by Lucas Smith.

Horvath's night was through on the mound as Kennedy Mathis finished the fifth inning.

There was no scoring in the sixth inning.

Tense moments

After a strikeout to begin the top of the seventh, Harber singled and went to second on a Bonabi wild pitch.

Bonabi came up with a strikeout for the second out before Boone Sweeney kept the game alive with a base hit, putting Rocket runners on the corners.

Harber scored on a wild pitch, making it a one-run game as Yelensky, who came in to run for Sweeney went to second on the play.

Bonabi struck out the final Forrest batter to end the game, giving the Cougars their first district title.

Horvath gave up two earned runs on just four MTCS hits, while walking one and striking out two.

Horvath (2-3, RBI) and Harber (2-3, RS) had two hits apiece for Forrest, while Austin Harmon and Sweeney had one hit each.