Rockets throw away Region title

Friday, May 16, 2014
Forrest's Tanner Garvin (8) threw a one-hit complete game versus Community Tuesday night in the Region 6-A final, but it wasn't enough as the Vikings prevailed 2-1. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest's chance for redemption versus Community went sailing away Tuesday night in 2-1 loss at Unionville as the Rockets wasted a stellar one-hit performance by Tanner Garvin with some untimely defensive mishaps that cost the Chapel boys the Region 5-A title.

"We had a lack of discipline at the plate, we were swinging at bad pitches, getting the barrel and the hands under the ball, and popping the ball up," said Forrest head coach Chris Parker, who has led the Rockets to sub-state berths in each of his first two seasons. "You gotta do it in the game, I don't know what else to do; you have to have plate discipline."

On the road

Forrest (27-12) will hit the road Friday night, travelling to Region 6-A champion Summertown (30-2) in a state sectional contest with the prize being a berth in the Blue Cross Spring Fling next week in Murfreesboro.

"I told the boys, your ultimate goal is still at hand, you win Friday and it makes this one is easy to forget, we still have that chance at the state tournament," said Parker. "It won't be an easy task, but it can be done and we can do it, we just have to find our character and get it done."

Garvin, who went the distance in the contest, came out wheeling and dealing, holding the Vikings hitless until Gabe Warrick stroked a clean single to center field with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Meanwhile, Community starter and winner Dillion West was on his game as well, getting out of a couple of jams through five innings of work before the Rockets threatened when they rallied with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.

Rockets on base

Caleb Keller came up with a pinch hit single and Kennedy Mathis followed with his second base hit of the night, putting Rocket runners on first and second.

Pinch hit extraordinaire Bryce Oliver came to the dish and drilled a two-strike pitch to the right/center field gap, but Community center fielder Darion Pride made the catch to end the inning.

Austin Harber (6) pounces out from behind the plate to gun down a Community runner at first in the fourth inning.

To start the home half of the inning, Austin Cagle and Kyle Davidson leaned into a couple of Garvin pitches for a pair of free passes, putting the Rockets in a dangerous spot.

Community does not paint a batter's box on their field.

The Vikings capitalized when Pride bunted a ball to first base and the throw to get the force at third went sailing into leftfield, allowing both Cagle and Davidson to score on the error.

One more chance

Garvin did a nice job escaping any further damage and the game went to the seventh inning, giving Forrest just one chance to comeback.

Ryan Yelensky got things going when he reached on an error to lead off the inning.

Yelensky went to second on a ground out and Alex Brewer beat out an infield single, putting Forrest runners on the corners with one out.

Jacob Daughrity grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Yelensky, making it 2-1, but West saved his best for last, striking out the final Forrest batter to end the championship tilt.

Garvin struck out four, walked two, and hit two Community batters in the tough luck loss.

"Garvin did an outstanding job, but I would still like to see a batter's box chalked up there, to keep those guys from leaning into it a little bit," said Parker. "That's an old trick you probably play in the backyard in Farmington where you try to roll into one right there, but we have to overcome it, we have to get an out on the bunt there instead of giving them two freebies."

At the plate

Kennedy Mathis (22) had two hits in the contest for the Rockets, who will travel to Summertown Friday night for a state sectional game and a chance to go to the Blue Cross Spring Fling.

Mathis (2-3, SB) had a pair of hits for the Rockets, while Brewer (1-3, BB), Keller (1-1), and Boone Sweeney (1-3) all had one base knock.

The last time Forrest and Summertown faced off in a post-season game was in 2004 when the Rockets beat the Eagles 1-0 in the Region 6-A semifinals.