Early splurge zooms Rockets past Cougars

Friday, March 28, 2014
Jacob Daughrity (9) is congratulated by his Rocket teammates after scoring the first run of the game for Forrest, who beat MTCS 16-8 in Murfreesboro Wednesday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After the postponement of Tuesday night's game at Middle Tennessee Christian School due to frigid temperatures, the Forrest Rockets came out on fire on Wednesday, scoring eight first innings en-route to a big 16-8 win, completing the regular season sweep over the Cougars.

Forrest (6-5, 4-0) had just seven hits in the contest and was helped out by nine Cougar errors in the field, 11 bases on balls, three wild pitches and four passed balls.

Winning effort

Kennedy Mathis picked up the win on the hill for the Rockets, giving up two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of work, while striking out four and walking three Cougar batters.

The Rockets sent a dozen batters to the plate in the first inning and scored eight runs on just two with the big blows coming from Austin Harber, who bashed a bases clearing double and by Mathis, who helped his own cause with a two-run single with the bases juiced.

Kennedy Mathis (22), who picked up the win on the hill for the Rockets, drills a two-run double in the first inning.

Mathis set down the Cougars 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first and the Rockets added another run in the second inning as Landon Jones led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Tanner Garvin.

Mathis allowed just one base runner through the first three innings and in the top of the fourth, it looked like the Rockets would run-rule the Cougars when they scored an unearned run to make it 10-0.

Cougars strike

It was not to be as the Cougars came up with three runs in the home half of the fourth and were helped out by one Forrest error and three bases on balls, plus a couple of Texas League RBI hits by Perry Patton and Peyton Buckner.

A Garvin two-run double in the top of the fifth recouped a couple of the runs lost, but MTCS was handed another unearned run in the bottom the inning, making it a 12-4 ballgame

The damage could have been worse, but Garvin came to the hill for the Rockets with two-on and two-out and struck out Patton to end the inning.

Garvin drilled another two-run double in the sixth inning and Jones added an RBI base on balls, making it a 15-4 contest and setting up another run-rule possibility for the Rockets, who need just three out to end the game.

Rocket backstop Austin Harber (6) came up with this bases clearing double in part of the eight-run first inning for Forrest.

Fending off MTCS

Buckner led off the home half of the fifth with a bloop double to right field and would come around to score on two Forrest miscues and both of the MTCS batters that reached on the errors, eventually came to the plate with runs, making it a 15-8 ballgame.

Alex Brewer came to the mound with the bases loaded and one out, trying to stave off a Cougars' comeback and he came up huge, striking out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Rockets tallied their final run in the top of the seventh as Bryce Oliver and Ryan Byrd reached on MTCS errors and found themselves on second and third after a Cougars' wild pitch.

Jacob Daughrity knocked in Oliver with a fielder's choice RBI and Daughrity came to the hill to try to close out the ballgame in the bottom of the inning.

Game's over

Trey Hickey got on to lead off the inning before Boone Sweeney grabbed a fly ball in left field for the first out and the game ended when Brewer scooped up a ground ball at short stop and stepped on the bag before firing to first for the game-ending double play.

As part of the Rocket/Tiger Classic in conjunction with MCHS this weekend, Forrest will host McMinn Central and Cannon County (1-8) on Thursday, Creekwood (8-1) on Friday, and Cannon County and Spring Hill (7-5) on Saturday.