FMS Rockets outlast Cornersville in 8 innings

Friday, April 4, 2014
Cornersville starting pitcher Graham Duke delivers a strike to home plate in the top of the third inning against Forrest. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Forrest Middle School Rockets snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Monday night when they went on the road and defeated the Cornersville Middle School Bulldogs 4-3 in eight innings.

Aided by a dominant pitching performance from starting hurler Graham Duke, the Bulldogs held a 2-1 lead through the first six innings of play.

Cornersville's defense, however, left Duke down in the top of the seventh, as the Rockets scored an unearned run with the help of three CMS errors to tie the game at 2-2.

Winning inning

Forrest then tallied two runs in the top of the eighth to seize a 4-2 advantage before staving off a Bulldog rally attempt in the bottom half of the frame to hang on for the win.

"I was real pleased with the way that we scrapped," said FMS coach Bart Joyce. "We just kept fighting and found a way to win against a good pitcher tonight.

Bulldog reliever Carson Stacey suffered the loss on the mound and yielded two runs in one inning on three hits. Despite racking up 14 strikeouts in seven innings of work, Duke had to settle for the no decision after allowing two runs, one earned, on two hits and two walks while Cornersville committed four errors overall.

"We had been playing good defense, but we made three errors in the seventh inning that cost us," said CMS coach Mike Tatum. "Graham definitely pitched good enough to win."


Forrest second baseman Dylan Pendley throws out Cornersville's Cade Hopkins at first base in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Dustin Brashear went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored to lead the Rockets offensively, while starting pitcher Alex Huey (1 RBI), Ethan Mealer (1 RBI), and Lane Laporte notched one hit apiece.

Huey was also extremely effective on the mound and recorded 13 strikeouts over seven innings while giving up two unearned runs on four hits and a walk en route to earning the win. Brashear came on in relief of Huey in the top of the eighth and allowed one run on two hits to pick up the save.

Austin Hantz accounted for half of the Bulldogs' hits and went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. Caleb Crowell, Raymond Cooksey, and Zach Blackwell tallied one hit apiece for Cornersville as well.

Early leaders

The Bulldogs opened the scoring by pushing across two runs in the bottom of the third to grab a 2-0 lead. Following a leadoff walk by Stacey, Blackwell legged out a bunt single to put runners on first and second with no outs. After Stacey was thrown out at third on a fielder's choice by Cameron Whitaker, Duke reached base on an error to load the bases with two outs before Hantz plated Blackwell and Whitaker with a two-run bloop single.

Forrest narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the top of the fifth when Mealer scored on a two-out RBI single by Huey after drawing a leadoff walk and advancing to third on a Ryan Moses sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.

The Rockets left a man at third in the sixth inning, but tallied a run in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 2-2. After Mealer and Moses both reached base on CMS errors to put men on first and second with one out, both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch before Mealer scored on the play thanks to a throwing error.


FMS carried the momentum in the top of the eighth and plated two more runs in the frame on the strength of a double by Brashear, a Laporte single, a RBI groundout by Hunter Beckman, and a Mealer RBI single to grab a 4-2 lead.

The Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Crowell scored on a two-out balk after leading off the frame with a single, but Breasher struck out the next CMS batter to seal the win for the Rockets.