Joyce debuts with sweep of Cougars
Sometimes change is good and for the Forrest Rockets, change was excellent.
The Bart Joyce coaching era in Chapel Hill started with a sweep versus Middle Tennessee Christian School (MTCS) as the Rockets came from behind to win 9-5 in Murfreesboro on Monday before run-ruling the Cougars 12-2 at Forrest on Tuesday.
"The past two games have been a big lift," said Joyce. "The boys have stepped up to the challenge and this is the best time of year to be to be stepping up."
Nearer to first
The sweep over the Cougars put the Rockets' post-season fate in its own hands as they climbed to within one game of first place Huntland in the District 9-A standings.
Forrest has a home and away series versus the Hornets, beginning at Chapel Hill for senior night tonight before traveling to Huntland on Monday.
A sweep over the Franklin County squad will give the Rockets the number one seed in the upcoming district tournament.
"It's a great position to be in where we can determine our own positioning," said Joyce. "If we get these next two wins, we end up with a number one seed for the tournament, which is great."
Logan Hollingsworth and Tanner Garvin both turned in complete game efforts on the mound for Forrest in the sweep.
"We've had great pitching efforts the last games, those two seniors stepped up in critical situations and got the job done," said Joyce. "Hollingsworth got in trouble early and got out of a jam and Garvin did the same."
On Monday in Murfreesboro, Forrest and MTCS were tied at 5-5 until the top of the sixth inning when the Cougars imploded on defense.
Three consecutive errors by the Cougars in the inning set up a bases clearing double by Jonathon Lykins, making it an 8-5 ballgame.
Two batters later, Boone Sweeny drove in Lykins to open up a four-run lead for Forrest and Hollingsworth closed the door, allowing just one Cougar base runner over the next two innings to seal the win.
"Monday was a great win, the boys never gave up and came up big in the end," said Joyce. "This time of the year you got to be getting at the height of your game because when the tournament starts, records really don't matter anymore."
"It's like a new season and you want to be prepared and that game really helped us in preparation for the tournament."
On Tuesday in Chapel Hill, the Cougars scored two first-inning runs before the Rockets set the tone for the remainder of the evening.
Forrest sent 11 batters to the plate in the home half of the first inning, scoring five runs and added two more in the second on a Slayton Wild two-run homerun, the first of his varsity career.
First home run
"Its always great to see a kid get a big hit like that, especially when it's his first varsity home run," said Joyce. "Wild started seeing the ball pretty good on Monday and that just filtered into Tuesday as it did for several on the team."
Forrest scored four times in the fourth inning and finished off with run-rule win with one tally in the bottom of the sixth on a walk-off single by Alex Brewer.
"Tuesday was a great night for the team at the plate as coaches talked to the boys about having quality at bats," said Joyce. "The team doubled its quality at bats from Monday and that's what it is about."
Forrest banged out 17 hits in the contest, while Garvin did not allow a run after the first inning, striking out five and walking two Cougars in the victory.
"The team was clicking and the boys had fun with a big win," said Joyce.
Game one in Murfreesboro
Forrest 0032040--9 9 2
MTCS 1220000---5 8 1
Forrest: Alex Brewer 2-for-2, Jonathon Lykins 2-for-4, Boone Sweeney 1-for3, Slayton Wild 1-for-4, Tanner Garvin 1-for-3, Logan Hollingsworth 1-for-4, Ryan Yelensky 1-for-3.
MTCS: Parker Bates 3-for-3, Brayden Melton 2-for-3, Justin Winn 1-for-4, Will Barham 1-for-3, Griffin Harper 1-for-3.
WP: Logan Hollingsworth
LP: Peyton Buckner
Game two at Forrest
MTCS 200000--2 5 2
Forrest 520401--12 17 2
MTCS: Parker Bates 2-for-3, Griffin Harper 1-for-3, Justin Winn 1-for-2, Austin Melton 1-for-3.
Forrest: Alex Brewer 3-for-3, Boone Sweeney 3-for-4, Austin Welty 2-for-4, Jonathon Lykins 2-for-4, Slayton Wild 2-for-4, Ryan Yelensky 2-for-4, Tanner Garvin 1-for-3, Logan Hollingsworth 1-for-3, Bryce Oliver 1-for-1.
WP: Tanner Garvin
LP: Griffin Harper