FMS Rockets continue DRVC dominance
The FMS Rockets continued their dominance of the Duck River Valley Conference Tournament winning their fifth title in the last six years and this time they did it with high drama, sweeping top-seeded Fayetteville 3-2 and 12-1 at Liberty Middle School.
"I have to give the boys all the credit in the world, they fought the entire tournament," said FMS head coach Bart Joyce. "They just never gave up and ended winning in a big way the last two games."
The Rockets needed game one to continue their season, but Fayetteville jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings and the Tiger pitching staff had the Rockets stymied, holding FMS to just three hits through five innings of play.
FMS began to heat up in the top of the six when Dylan Eady was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.
Eady went to second base on an error and Dylan Pendley drew a base on balls before Dustin Brashears followed with a two-run double, cutting the Fayetteville lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Huey came on in relief of Jarvis Lyttle, who had held the Tigers in check for the previous three innings.
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Huey pitched a scoreless inning and the Rockets tied the game in the top of the seventh when Ryan Moses walked and Eady followed with a run-scoring double, scoring Ty Hengesbach, who had come in to run for the FMS backstop.
Huey set down the Tigers in the bottom of the frame, sending the contest to extra innings.
Chase Karaczewski was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the eighth and Hayden Pate came in to run for Karaczewski, but he did not stay put long, stealing second base before scoring the go-ahead run when Hunter Beckman reached on a Fayetteville error.
Huey finished the job on the hill for the Rockets, setting up a winner-take-all game for the DRVC title.
Huey picked up the win for the Rockets, giving up just three hits, while walking one and striking out three Tiger batters in his three innings of work.
Eady led the Rockets' offensive attack, going 2-2 with one RBI, a run scored, and he was hit by a pitch.
Pendley (1-4, RS, 2BB), Brashears (1-4, 2B, RBI), and Huey (1-4) all had one hit for FMS.
"They played great and never gave up and I believe the key was just fighting through it," said Joyce. "We did the small things that ended helping us in a big way. We got a hit here and there and came up with a tight win in the first game and that just fueled the boys to get a demanding win the second game."
Demanding it was, as the Rockets were held scoreless for two innings before plating four runs in the third inning.
Fayetteville got one run back in the home half of the third inning, but in the top of the fourth inning, Forrest put the game away with a backbreaking eight-run frame as they sent a dozen hitters to the plate.
The Tigers had no answer in the bottom of the inning and could not muster a comeback in the final inning as the Rockets run-ruled Fayetteville 12-1 to claim the hardware.
The Rockets' pitching was superb in the title tilt as Drew Daughrity picked up the win, giving up one earned run on two hits, while walking one and striking out two Tiger batters.
Lyttle continued his mastery on the mound, coming on for Daughrity with one out in the third inning and he held Fayetteville hitless until Ethan Mealer did the same, closing out the contest in the fifth inning.
"This group of players had a goal in mind and they wanted to achieve that goal and they worked really hard to achieve it and didn't want to give up," said Joyce "And that really showed that the last two games. I am very proud of the boys for what they have accomplished."
Huey (2-3, RS, 3RBIs), Moses (2-2, RS, 2RBIs, HBP), Brashears (2-4, 2RS, 2RBIs), and Karaczewski (2-3, 2RS, HBP) all had two hits in the contest, while Lyttle (1-2, RS, RBI) and Pendley (1-2, 2RS, 2RBIs, BB) both had one hit each.
FMS finished the season with a 17-4 record and the Rockets have now won DRVC titles in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014.
"Since I have been involved with the middle school team this is three titles in four years and I know they won the two previous years before me, so it's quite an achievement for our program," said Joyce.