Goodpasture fends off Forrest in state

Friday, May 23, 2014
Forrest's Kennedy Mathis rounds third base while scoring on a Goodpasture error in the top of the third inning. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Although the Forrest Rockets (28-14) saw their season come to an end on Wednesday morning, coach Chris Parker's squad didn't go down without a fight, as they dropped a 7-6 decision to the Goodpasture Cougars (35-7) in the loser's bracket of the Class A State Tournament at Middle Tennessee Christian School.

Facing a Goodpasture program that has won four state titles over the last 10 years, the Rockets stood toe-to-toe with the private school powerhouse and battled the Cougars to a 4-4 tie through the first four innings of play.

After Goodpasture crossed home plate three times in the bottom of the fifth to seize a 7-4 lead, Forrest sliced the deficit to 7-6 in the top of the sixth, but the Cougars threw out the potential game tying run at the plate to end the inning before holding FHS scoreless in the seventh to hang on for the victory.

'We belonged...'

"I think we played hard and proved that we belonged here. I can't say enough about the grit and determination that the guys showed today," said Parker. "The work and dedication that the seniors showed helped pave the way for the success that we had this season."

Forrest's Caleb Keller smacks a single into centerfield in the top of the third inning against Goodpasture.

The Rockets finished with a modest seven hits against two Goodpasture hurlers, but also drew seven walks to go along with two Cougar errors. Tanner Garvin (2 RBI), Kennedy Mathis (1 RBI), Alex Brewer, Landon Jones, Slayton Wild, Caleb Keller, and Austin Harber each tallied one hit for Forrest.

"We did a good job of making them throw strikes and make pitches. We hit some balls hard, but came up just a little short," said Parker.

Cougar starting pitcher J.R. Davis picked up the win and allowed six runs over five plus innings on six hits and six walks. Reliever Wyatt Blessing earned the save for Goodpasture and allowed one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings of work.

Cougar hits

The Cougars, meanwhile, pounded out 10 hits overall against Forrest starting pitcher Logan Hollingsworth and reliever Jacob Daughrity. Nick Bailey (2 RBI), Alex Junior (1 RBI), Davis (1 RBI), and centerfielder Carter Wiseman each notched two hits to lead Goodpasture at the plate, while Scott Ellis and second baseman Drew Hall both had one hit.

Hollingsworth suffered the loss on the mound after yielding six runs on eight hits and four walks.

The Rockets left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning before the Cougars pushed across two runs in the bottom half of frame on a Ryan Kemp RBI groundout and a RBI single by Davis to grab a 2-0 lead.

Goodpasture continued to expand their lead in the second and plated two more runs in the frame to open up a 4-0 advantage. Following a leadoff single by Hall, Bailey doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Hall then scampered home on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 before Junior drove in courtesy runner Steve Pine with a RBI single.

Forrest rallies

Forrest shortstop Alex Brewer tags out Goodpasture's Alex Junior on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the first inning.

Forrest quickly got up off the mat and tallied four runs in the top of the third to tie the score at 4-4. Jones singled with one out before advancing to third on a single by Garvin. After Mathis plated Jones with a RBI single to make it 4-1, he and Garvin both scored on a single by Keller when Wiseman allowed the ball to roll past him while Keller advanced to third on the play. Keller then trotted home on a balk by Davis a few moments later.

The Cougars left two men in scoring position in the bottom of the third, but broke the stalemate by notching three runs in the fifth inning with the help of two walks, a two-run triple by Bailey, and a Tate Gregory RBI groundout to take a 7-4 lead.

Catching up

Forrest once again mounted an immediate response and scored two runs in the top of the sixth to slice the deficit to 7-6. Boone Sweeney reached base on an error to lead off the inning prior to advancing to third on a double by Brewer. After Daughrity drove in Sweeney with a RBI groundout, Landon Jones drew a walk before Brewer scored on a RBI fielder's choice by Garvin. The Rockets appeared they might tie the game when Wild belted a double into the right centerfield gap, but Hall gunned down pinch runner Jonathan Lykins at home plate to maintain Goodpasture's tenuous one-run lead.

That proved to be the decisive moment in the game, as Blessing slammed the door on FHS' comeback hopes by striking out the side in the top of the seventh to seal the win for Goodpasture.