Rockets stay alive via road shutout in region opener
The Forrest Rockets showed some serious guts Monday night in the Region 6-A semifinals at Nashville Christian School as they came away with a 3-0 win over the Eagles, setting up a Battle Royal in the region title game Tuesday night versus archrival Community in Unionville.
Forrest ace Logan Hollingsworth turned in a solid clutch performance on the mound for the Rockets, scattering five hits in the 90-pitch, complete-game shutout, while walking one and striking out three Nashville Christian batters in the contest.
Forrest got on the board in the first inning as Alex Brewer led off the game with a base on balls and, one out later, Landon Jones singled to left field before Boone Sweeney provided Hollingsworth with all the run support he would need in the contest when he slammed an RBI single to center field that scored Brewer.
Hollingsworth gave up a one-out single to Austin Bishop in the bottom of the first, but the big righty retired the next two Eagles' batters to squelch the early threat.
There was no scoring in the second inning and the Rockets could have done some more damage in the top of the third, but left the bases juiced with two outs.
Meanwhile, Hollingsworth was cruising on the mound, giving up one hit in the bottom of the second inning and the Rocket senior retired the side in order in the third.
Nashville Christian starting pitcher Zell Walker hit Caleb Keller with a pitch to lead off the top of the fourth inning before Cain Harrison came on to pinch run for Keller.
Austin Harber followed with a single to left field and Austin Welty moved both runners up one base with a sacrifice bunt.
Brewer drilled a line drive single to center field, driving in Harrison, and Harber followed Brewer home when the throw to home went awry, making it a 3-0 ballgame.
The Eagles mounted a rally in the home half of the inning as Bryce Collier and Walker banged back-to-back singles leading off the frame, but Hollingsworth got out of the jam on a pop-up to first base, a strikeout, and the inning ended on a ground ball to Jones at third base.
Forrest did not score again in the contest, but they did not have to as Hollingsworth retired the Eagles 1-2-3 in the fifth inning, escaped a two-on two-out jam in the sixth inning, and in the bottom of the seventh, Michael Pope managed a leadoff single before he was erased on a 6-3 double play.
Hollingsworth got a pop-up to Brewer at shortstop to end the game, setting up the sixth meeting this season between the Unionville boys and the nine from Chapel Hill.
Community holds a 3-2 lead in the season series, including a win in the District 9-A title game last week in Chapel Hill.
Forrest had seven hits at Nashville Christian with Sweeney (2-2, RBI, BB, SB, HBP) and Landon Jones (2-3, BB) both getting two hits, while Brewer (1-3, BB, RS, RBI), Harber (1-4, RS), and Welty (1-2, sac bunt) all had one hit apiece.