Rockets sweep 9-A, halt MTCS for title

Friday, May 8, 2015
The Forrest Rockets beat MTCS 14-4 Wednesday night in Chapel Hill to claim their first District 9-A title since 2006. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets made a clean sweep of the District 9-A Tournament, outscoring its opponents 38-9 in three games with the clincher coming Wednesday night in Chapel Hill via a 14-4, run-rule win over Middle Tennessee Christian School (MTCS) in the title game.

"I can't take any credit for this, these guys played stellar baseball and worked hard for the past two or three weeks since I have been here and it paid off," said Forrest coach Bart Joyce. "Look at them, they are season champs, district champs and now we are playing Monday in the region tournament, so I am proud of all the players."

First in years

The district tournament title is the Rockets' first since the 2006-2007 season when they made their first state tournament appearance and finished second to McKenzie.

Forrest made its second state tournament appearance last season

"These kids have been playing together for a while now," said Joyce. "I had them in middle school, and they did a great job, and they are still going on in their upper years now."

Logan "Deuce" Hollingsworth improved to 7-2 on the season and picked up the complete game win on the mound for Forrest, giving up four earned runs on nine hits, striking out two and walking two.

"This is just the perfect way to end your senior year winning district," said Hollingsworth. "I want to thank our coaches, who are driving us to work hard everyday and we are getting it done. We are on a roll right now, we are ready to go deeper this year."

Early lead

Forrest took a 3-0 first inning lead in Wednesday's championship contest, but MTCS fought back to make it a one-run game by the third inning.

The Rockets came back with two runs in the bottom of third and three more the following inning to open up an 8-2 lead on the Cougars.

MTCS fought back again, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning before Forrest put the game away, crossing home plate six times in the home half of the fifth to claim the run-rule victory.

The Rockets managed just eight hits, but were helped out by the wildness of two Cougar pitchers, who combined for nine bases on balls issued to Forrest.

Boone Sweeney (2-for-2, 4RBI) and Ryan Yelensky (2-for-3, 3RS) both had two hits apiece for the Rockets.

Next clash

The All-District 9-A Tournament Team members from Forrest are from left, Jonathon Lykins (Tournament MVP), Boone Sweeney, Tanner Garvin, Logan Hollingsworth, Alex Brewer (District 9-A MVP), and Austin Welty.

The Rockets (19-8) will entertain the East Robertson Indians in the opening round of the Region 5-A Tournament in Chapel Hill on Monday night.

Jonathon Lykins, who won the district tournament MVP award said, "This feels amazing, it's really great. We got on them in the first inning, got in a little slump in the fifth but kept working hard at it and came back and won it."

Forrest beat the Indians 3-2 in the 2013 region title game in Chapel Hill, but lost three days later to Cornersville in a sectional contest.

"We are not satisfied, we have to get better," said Alex Brewer, who claimed his second consecutive District 9-A MVP award. "It is just taking one game at time now, and we know District 10 is tough, but we think we can beat them."

The two schools also met in the 2006 region title game that Forrest won 6-0.

MTCS 011 02--4 9 1

Forrest 302 36--14 8 0

MTCS: Will Barham 3-for-3, Austin Melton 2-for-3, Justin Winn 2-for-3, Brayden Melton 2-for-3.

Forrest: Boone Sweeney 2-for-2, Ryan Yelensky 2-for-3, Jonathon Lykins 1-for-2, Austin Welty 1-for-2, Slayton Wild 1-for-2, Tanner Garvin 1-for-3.

WP: Logan Hollingsworth

LP: Zach Stephens