Rockets capture Region 5-A title with help of E. Robertson error
The Forrest Rockets had just one hit off East Robertson starting pitcher Chance Harp in the Region 5-A championship game in Chapel Hill Wednesday night, but were the beneficiaries of a huge game changing error by the Indians that allowed an extension of the pivotal fourth inning in a 3-2 victory.
"This feels pretty good and I think we exceeded everybody's expectation this year, but mine," said Forrest head coach Chris Parker. "I am proud of the boys, we didn't play our best ballgame today, but we did the little things right when we needed to and won."
Harp would go the distance in defeat, walking six and striking out six, while giving up the lone hit to Austin Harber in the fourth inning.
With the win, Forrest will face intra-county rival Cornersville (17-13), who lost 8-1 to Summertown in the 6-A Region final.
It will be the Bulldogs' first-ever sectional contest.
"I believe it will be a fight and a battle and a special night for baseball in Marshall County," said Parker. "I just hope we can come out and fight and give it our all, because Cornersville is a well coached team and they will give us everything they have."
Forrest (23-13) tagged teamed six pitchers in the contest with Alex Brewer picking up the win and Jacob Daughrity notching the save.
Sharing the fun
"I like to use everybody to give them a little work and get a taste of it," said Parker. "On Friday, we got to have all hands on deck and everybody available, so I didn't want to burn anybody too much."
Tanner Garvin started on the hill for the Rockets and pitched two innings of scoreless ball before Kennedy Mathis came on in the third and gave up two unearned runs on two hits, two bases on balls, and a huge two-out error that changed the complexion of the frame.
Ryan Byrd was next in line for mound duty, coming on in relief in the fourth inning, holding the line before Brewer took the ball with one on and no outs in the fifth.
Brewer finished the fifth and Zach Horvath tossed a scoreless sixth, but left with one out in the seventh and East Robertson runners on first and second.
Daughrity slammed the door on the Indians, retiring the last two East Robertson hitters to pick up the save.
After two scoreless innings, the Indians broke through with two runs in the third inning.
Lane Eden led off the inning with a base hit before Mathis whiffed the next two Indians.
Dustin Inman banged a two-out single to left before Marshall Nix hit a grounder to second that was bobbled by Forrest, allowing Eden to trot home, making it 1-0.
Back-to-back walks to Dalton Armstrong and Harp put the Indians in front 2-0 before Mathis got out of any further damage on a grounder to second for the final out.
With one down in the home half of the inning, Boone Sweeney, Thaddeus Reyes, and Brewer all walked to load the bases.
Daughrity drove home pinch runner Jonathan Lykins from third on a sacrifice fly, making it 2-1, but Harp retired the next batter, ending the inning.
Byrd pitched a scoreless fourth inning for Forrest, setting up the pivotal bottom of the frame.
Harber lead off the inning with a base hit to left field and Landon Jones followed with a ground ball that looked like a sure double-play, but the Indians botched the opportunity with an error.
A passed ball sent the runners to second and third before Ryan Yelensky knocked Harber home on a fielder's choice RBI, tying the game at 2-2.
Sweeney drew a walk to re-load the sacks and Reyes came up and put down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Jones from third with the go-ahead run.
Brewer got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fifth with an inning ending strikeout and Harp held FHS scoreless in the home half of the inning.
Horvath set down the Indians 1-2-3 in the sixth, and in the top of the seventh, Daughrity walked to the hill with a runners on first and second with one out, but the game ended on a pair of grounders back to the hill, sending the Rockets to their first sectional game since 2006, when they finished as Class-A runners-up.
"We want to win, we want to take care of business," said Parker. "I came here because of this town and the kids that play in this town and I think it would be special to these kids and this town to be one of the last eight teams standing."