Rockets squander chance at district title

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Slayton Wild (7) bangs a two-run double in the second for Forrest, who fell 3-2 to Community Monday night in Chapel Hill. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets needed just one win over Community in the Monday and Tuesday home-and-away District 9-A series to claim the regular season title, but the Vikings had other ideas as they came away with a big 3-2 win in Chapel Hill Monday night.

"Two key things happened tonight, we left too many on base and we didn't get our bunts down," said Forrest head coach Chris Parker. "But, you can't cry over spilled milk, let's give Community credit, they came out ready to play, they were focused, and they came up with a big win."

Eleven hits

Community came to hit the baseball as they banged out 11 hits in the contest off Forrest ace Logan Hollingsworth with Austin Cagle leading the way via a 3-4 night at the dish, including a first inning RBI single that opened the scoring in the game.

Hollingsworth escaped a second-inning jam before the Rockets came back in the home half of the frame, beginning with a one walk by Kennedy Mathis.

Community starter and winning pitcher Quinn Frost balked Mathis to second and Boone Sweeney followed with a base hit to center field as Mathis took third, while Sweeney alertly went to second on the throw.

Slayton Wild came up and ripped a ball deep to center field that scored both Mathis and Sweeney, giving the Rockets a 2-1 lead.

Missed chances

Hollingsworth set down the Vikings 1-2-3 in the top of the third and the fourth innings, while the Rockets left three runners on base in the same two frames.

The Vikings broke through in the top of the fifth as Darien Pride led off with a double down the left-field line and

Luke Davidson moved the tying run to third with a sacrifice bunt.

After Taylor Paschal was hit by a Hollingsworth pitch, Frost executed a perfect squeeze bunt, sending Pride to the plate.

Cagle singled to center to load the sacks full of Vikings before the Rockets were unable to turn a double play and

Paschal crossed home with the go-ahead run, making it 3-2.

No more runs

Boone Sweeney (25) had a perfect 3-3 performance at the plate for Forrest.

Forrest had another scoring chance in the bottom of the sixth as Mathis and Sweeney banged back-to-back one out singles, but the Rockets were unable to push the tying run across as Frost got a pop-up for the second out and the threat was halted on an inning-ending strikeout.

The game went to the seventh inning and remained a one-run contest as Hollingsworth had little trouble in the frame.

In the bottom of the seventh, Alex Brewer smashed a leadoff double down the left-field line, and after a groundout to shortstop, Brewer went to third on a deep fly ball off the bat of Landon Jones.

Frost finished off his victory with a game-ending strikeout as the two teams walked off the field tied for first place with a monumental battle looming in Unionville on Thursday for all the marbles.

Mad and ready

"It may be good for us to lose one right now," said Parker "It may make us mad, work a little harder and we will try to go over there tomorrow and get a win."

Frost (2-4, RBI) and Pride (2-3, RS) had two hits in the contest for the Vikings, while Paschal (1-3, 2RS, HBP), Gabe Warrick (1-3), Drake Shultz (1-3) and Tyler Broiles all had one hit apiece for the Vikings (15-13, 9-2).

Sweeney had a perfect 3-3 night at the plate with a run scored for Forrest, while Brewer had two hits in four at bats.

Wild (1-3, 2RBIs), Landon Jones (1-3) and Mathis (1-2, RS) all had one base knock apiece for the Rockets (22-7, 9-2).