Rockets run-rule Raiders
Forrest pushes win streak to 7 games by 'being focused' in District 9A clash
The Forrest Rockets welcomed longtime rival Moore County to Chapel Hill on Monday night, looking to continue a six game winning streak where they have outscored their opponents a daunting 55-8.
The Rockets stayed atop the District 9A standings with the win over the Raiders, still sporting an undefeated record in league play.
Forrest coach Bart Joyce and his red hot Rockets' club added win number seven to the streak as they had no trouble handling Moore County via a 10-0 six inning run-rule win.
"The key tonight was being focused before the game," Forrest coach Bart Joyce explained. "I feel like with this team you can tell before the game how we're gonna do."
"Of course pitching has been our strong point," Joyce added. "Ryan Yelensky's been our number one all year and he's done really well at what he does and same thing for tonight. Pitching and hitting. That's where we're going to get wins and we prevailed tonight also."
Yelensky made the sure the Raiders never got comfortable in Chapel Hill as the senior hurler held a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Coy Cashion swatted a single up the middle for the only Moore County hit of the ballgame.
How to win
"I just know I have to get ahead in each new count, keep throwing strikes and rely on my defense," Yelensky, who struck out seven Moore County batters, said. "Getting my mind right before the game and going up there with confidence that I can throw the ball, and having confidence that my team has my back has been the key to my success all season."
Yelensky got plenty of help from his teammates at the plate, but five Moore County errors played a big part in the Rockets' victory.
The Rockets got an early run as Landon Jones scored Jacob Jones on a fielder's choice RBI to second base and a throwing error to first base scored the second Forrest run of the opening inning before a Slayton Wild fly out to center ended the threat and Moore County escaped to the second inning with minimal damage.
The Raiders would not be so lucky in the second inning when with two outs, shortstop Clay Burnett committed two straight errors to allow Austin Welty and Jacob Jones on first and second base before Yelensky helped his own cause with an RBI single to tally the third Rocket run of the night.
The situation got worse for the Raiders when an Alex Brewer walk would load up the bases and a rattled Logan Burt would bean Landon Jones and Boone Sweeney to tack on two more runs on the board before a critical error would prolong the inning for the visitors.
With bases loaded and two outs, a Wild grounder should have ended the inning with the third baseman stepping on the bag, but the Moore County infielder kept the inning alive with an errant throw to home plate which scored another Rocket run.
Jonathan Lykins stepped up to bat and unleashed a line drive into deep center to bring home two more Rocket base runners and what was once a manageable game for the Raiders down just two runs with two outs in the bottom of the second would turn into an 8-0 deficit heading into the third inning.
Burt would settle down and allow just one more Rocket run in the third on a Jacob Jones single up the middle to score Austin Welty before Cashion would come in in relief at the bottom of the third to try and keep the Rockets away from the one score needed to end the game with the run rule after the fifth inning.
Cashion retired the side in the fifth and looked into control in the sixth when with two strikes the Raider pitcher nailed Bryce Oliver in the back to put the tying run on first.
With one out and the winning run on first, Sweeney hit a shot into right field to secure the win for ninth ranked (Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association) Rockets heading towards a showdown with Fayetteville next Monday.
"I was thinking just make contact," Sweeney said. "Just make contact and get (the game) over. I was trying to get in and get out and do what needed to be done."
"We love coming out here and doing what we love to do," Sweeney continued. "Just having fun with it and competing."
The Rockets have two series remaining against two of the bottom dwellers in the district, MTCS (1-5) and Fayetteville (2-4), but Joyce thinks his team has what it takes to stay focused and not take any of the remaining opponents for granted.
"I just remind them that every day is a new day," Joyce said. "We came out in the first game (versus Summertown) and lose 10-5, but the next day we come back and beat them 3-2. I keep reminding them of those games because it reminds them that when they don't show up in any game, if they slip, any team can win on any given day."
The Rockets remain 10-1 against 1A competition but a closer look at the 13-5 record reveals an impressive 3-0 against 2A opponents and a 1-2 record against 3A teams with wins over Summit and a one-run loss against Smyrna, a school with more than five times the high school enrollment of Forrest.
Moore County 000 000-0 1 5
Forrest 261 001- 10 7 1
Moore County: Coy Cashion 1-for-2.
Forrest: Ryan Yelensky 2-for-4, Austin Welty 2-for-2, Jacob Jones 1-for-3, Boone Sweeney 1-for-2, Jonathan Lykins 1-for-2.
RBI: Landon Jones 2, Sweeney 2, Lykins 2, Yelensky 1 Jacob Jones 1.
FC: Landon Jones, Slayton Wild
HBP: Bryce Oliver, Landon Jones, Sweeney, Alex Brewer
SB: Austin Welty 2, Yelensky.
WP: Ryan Yelensky (6IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 7K, 0BB)
LP: Logan Burt