Oliver's heroics send Rockets to finals

Friday, May 9, 2014
Bryce Oliver, who drove home the game winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning gets a hug from Forrest head coach Chris Parker after the Rockets beat Community 3-2 Tuesday night, setting up a one game battle for the district crown on Wednesday in Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets turned Monday's misfortune into a Tuesday sweep, beating MTCS 3-2 in the District 9-A loser's bracket final before claiming a dramatic 3-2 win over Community in the nightcap, setting up a winner take all contest Wednesday night versus the Vikings in Chapel Hill.

Bryce Oliver's two-out eighth inning pinch hit RBI single capped off a wild game versus Community, who could have claimed the hardware with a win.

Forrest starter Tanner Garvin held Community in check for the first three innings before the Vikings jumped out in front, putting a ton of pressure on the Rockets when they scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning on a bunt single by Quinn Frost and an RBI base knock by Austin Cagle.

Forrest's District 9-A All Regular Season Team selectees from left are, Logan Hollingsworth (2), Kennedy Mathis (22), Alex Brewer (20), MVP, Landon Jones (10), Jacob Daughrity (9), and Austin Harber (6).

Big Rocket hit

Garvin and Community's Taylor Paschal both pitched through a scoreless fourth inning until Logan Hollingsworth came up big for the Rockets in the bottom of the fifth, slashing a two-run game tying double off of Viking reliever Quinn Frost.

Garvin was strong in the six and seventh innings, facing the minimum of six batters in the two frames, and in the bottom of the seventh it looked like the Rockets would win, until some more misfortune struck.

It happened like this.

Jacob Daughrity banged a one-out single and Landon Jones followed with a base on balls.

A passed ball moved both runners up to second and third before Community walked Hollingsworth to load the bases and set up a potential force play at home or an inning ending double play.

Neither happened because Forrest head coach Chris Parker elected to try some deception when he signaled the squeeze, but the bunt attempt was popped up and turned into a rally killing double play.

Alex Brewer came on in relief of Garvin in the top of the eighth and had a little minor trouble before sending Community back to field for the home half of the eighth.

Winning effort

With two down, Austin Harmon worked a walk and proceeded to steal second base before Oliver nailed a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left, easily scoring Harmon with the winning run and keeping the Rockets' hope of winning the tournament crown alive.

Brewer (1IP, BB, 2Ks) picked up the win for the Rockets in relief of Garvin, who turned in a solid effort on the mound, giving up just four hits, striking out five and walking zero Community batters in his seven innings.

Daughrity (2-3, SB) and Jones (2-2, RS, 2BB) had two hits each for the Rockets, while Hollingsworth (1-3, 2RBIs, BB), Austin Welty (1-3), and Oliver (1-1, RB) all had one base knock apiece.

Brewer was later named District 9-A Regular Season MVP and was joined on the All-District team by Logan Hollingsworth, Jacob Daughrity, Austin Harber, Kennedy Mathis, and Landon Jones, while Parker was selected as Coach of the Year.