Bucs ransack Rockets
Nothing went according to plan for the Forrest Rockets (28-13) on Tuesday afternoon, as they suffered an 11-1 loss in five innings to the Boyd Buchanan Buccaneers (29-9) in the first round of the Class A State Tournament at Middle Tennessee Christian School.
The Buccaneers took the wind out of Forrest's sails early and built a 7-0 lead through the first two innings of play. After the Rockets trimmed the deficit to 7-1 in the top of the fourth, Boyd Buchanan tallied four more runs in the bottom of the fifth to bring the mercy rule into effect.
With Tuesday's loss, Forrest falls into the loser's bracket where they will face Goodpasture on Wednesday morning.
'Have to come back'
"We just have to come back and do what we've done all year. We just had a bad day. That happens in baseball. Unfortunately for us it happened in the State Tournament," said FHS coach Chris Parker. "The kids battled and fought like they always do, but we're just a small country school playing against three All-Star teams from Jackson, Nashville, and Chattanooga."
The Buccaneers finished with nine hits against five Forrest hurlers, but also received plenty of help from the Rockets, who hit two batters, issued five walks, and committed six errors.
"We just had trouble throwing strikes and we were playing a good team that put the ball in play. We just didn't make the plays defensively," said Parker.
Nathan Murrell did the most damage at the plate for Boyd Buchanan and went 2-for-4 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored. Colby Morgan (1 RBI) tallied two hits for the Buccaneers as well, while Hunter Payne (2 RBI), Jim Cardwell (1 RBI), Cade Evans (1 RBI), Seth Rogers (1 RBI), and E.J. Matthews each had one hit.
FHS starting pitcher Kennedy Mathis suffered the loss after yielding five runs over an inning and two-thirds on two hits and three walks. Tanner Garvin was the most effective of Forrest's relievers and allowed one hit and one walk in one scoreless inning of work.
Boyd Buchanan starting pitcher Brandon Willingham and reliever Joshua Antwine defused the Rockets' offensive attack and combined to limit Forrest to only three hits overall. Willingham picked up the victory on the mound and allowed one run over four innings on two hits and four walks.
The Buccanneers also played solid defense behind their pitching staff, as they committed no errors in the contest and turned two double plays.
Mathis doubled to account for the Rockets lone extra base hit of the game, while Alex Brewer and Jacob Daughrity both singled.
Willingham worked around a pair of walks in the top of the first inning with the help of a 6-4-3 double play before Boyd Buchanan notched a run in the bottom half of the frame to grab a 1-0 lead. After Cardwell was hit by a pitch and stole second, Murrell blasted a RBI double off the base of the right field fence.
Forrest had a chance to tie the game in the top of the second after putting runners on first and second with two outs thanks to a Mathis walk and a hit batsman, but Willingham fanned the next Rocket batter to extinguish the threat.
The wheels then came off for the Rockets in the bottom of the second, as the Buccaneers crossed home plate six times in the frame on the strength of three walks, three FHS errors, a Cardwell sacrifice fly, an Evans infield single, a two-run single by Murrell, a Morgan single, and a two-run single by Payne to forge a 7-0 advantage.
Forrest trimmed the deficit to 7-1 in the top of the fourth when Slayton Wild scored on a RBI groundout by Austin Harber after drawing a one-out walk and advancing to third on a Mathis double.
Boyd Buchanan, though, delivered the knockout blow in the bottom of the fifth and pushed across four more runs in the inning behind a Skyler Anderson walk, two errors, a RBI single by Rogers, an Evans RBI sacrifice bunt, a passed ball, and a RBI double by Morgan to cap their 11-1 triumph.