Pride homer sends Rockets to loser's bracket
The Forrest Rockets needed to beat Community in Monday night's all-important winner's bracket match-up to gain the upper hand in the District 9-A Tournament, but the Vikings ruined the plan when Darian Pride belted a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning, propelling the Unionville squad to a 2-1 win.
Forrest played Middle Tennessee Christian School in the loser's bracket final Tuesday night, hoping for a win and another chance at the Vikings, who now hold all the cards, needing just one more win to take the district tournament crown.
It was definitely not a hitters' delight in Chapel Hill as the two squads combined for 11 hits in the contest, but pitching ruled the night as three Community hurlers combined in the zero-earned-run effort for the Vikings.
The Rockets picked up a quality start from Kennedy Mathis, who tossed five innings, giving up one earned on four hits, while striking out four and walking three Community hitters.
One of the base on balls was costly for Mathis when he walked Drake Shultz with the bases juiced in the top of the fourth inning.
Austin Cagle came to the hill in relief of Community starter Dillion West in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Rockets mounted their best challenge of the game when they loaded the bases with two outs.
Quinn Frost relieved Cagle on the hill and he put out the fire on an easy ball to center field that ended the Forrest threat.
After failing to score in the top of the fifth inning, the Rockets loaded the bases again in the bottom of the inning and the Vikings gave the home team a run when Logan Hollingsworth reached on a Community infield error, allowing Jacob Daughrity to cross home with the tying run.
Daughrity came to the hill with one on and one out in the sixth, but held Community in check.
Frost set down the Rockets 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth and in the top of seventh, Pride led off, crushing a fastball over the center-field fence to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
Frost struck out the first two Forrest batters in the bottom of the seventh before Landon Jones beat out an infield single and went to second on an errant throw.
A pop-up to second base ended the game, putting Community in the driver's seat.
Forrest managed just five hits in the contest with Daughrity going 2-4 with a run scored, while Alex Brewer (1-3, BB), Hollingsworth (1-3), and Slayton Wild (1-3, SB) all had one hit apiece.
Community stroked half a dozen hits as Pride (1-3, HR, RBI, RS), Frost (1-3, RS, BB, SB), West (1-3), Taylor Paschal (1-4), and Gabe Warrick (1-3) all had one base knock for the Vikings.