Rockets exit state tourney

Friday, May 27, 2016
Austin Welty does what he does best, reaching base with his speed on a first-inning bunt Tuesday versus Jackson Christian School. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets' return to the state tournament was another quick affair as they lost the first two games, ending the season with a 26-8 record.

"I hate it, but I'm proud of the boys and happy for these seniors for what they have accomplished the last four years," Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. "It's a wonderful group of seniors that I have had since the seventh grade that I cut my teeth on as far as head coaching goes, so I can't say enough about those guys, but also saying that, I look forward to the future of the program."

Opening game

In the opener on Tuesday night at Riverdale High School, things looked promising for the Rockets as they scored two first inning runs before Jackson Christian School took control for a 6-3 win.

Eagle starting pitcher Carter Holt stymied the Forrest hit machine in a complete game effort, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out 10 and walking three Chapel Hill batters.

"He (Holt) just got better as the game went on and we just didn't put the bat on the ball," Joyce said. "We just didn't make the necessary adjustments at the plate."

Ryan Yelensky had a big year as the ace on the mound for the Rockets, winning District 9-A Co-Pitcher of the Year.

Ryan Yelensky, who took the loss on the mound for the Rockets, led off the game with a double and Michael Dyer came in to courtesy run for the Forrest hurler.

Early lead

Austin Welty reached on a bunt single and an errant throw sent Dyer to third base. Dyer scored when a throw from the Jackson Christian catcher, trying to get Welty stealing second base sailed into the outfield and Welty went to third base.

Alex Brewer drove in Welty to make it 2-0 before Holt was able to get out of the jam with no further damage.

A Collin Cantrell RBI in the top of the second cut the Forrest lead in half at 2-1 and three more runs by the Eagles in the third made it 4-2.

Holt faced just six batters over the next two innings and Jackson Christian tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth to open up a 6-2 lead.

Final chance

The Rockets could not solve Holt the remainder of the contest, scoring just one more run on a Slayton Wild single in the bottom of the sixth, but it was not enough, sending Forrest to a loser's bracket contest versus Goodpasture Wednesday morning.

"It's gonna be rough, it's a big challenge, but our boys will be up for it and we will try to bounce back tomorrow," Joyce said.

Jonathan Lykins started on the hill for the Rockets and Zach Wallace took the ball for Goodpasture in the do-or-die contest.

Jacob Jones, who had two hits and both RBI for the Rockets versus Goodpasture, knocks in a first inning run versus the Cougars Wednesday at the Spring Fling at Riverdale High School.

Goodpasture took an early lead, coming up with two runs in the top of the second inning before a Jacob Jones RBI single in the home half of the inning made it 2-1.

Falling behind

A two-run double by Ryan Lyle in the top of the third inning made it 4-1 and in the bottom of the inning, a horrible call by the first base umpire took the Rockets out of a possible comeback attempt.

Goodpasture took advantage, scoring on a sacrifice fly RBI by David Wilson in the fourth inning.

Forrest tried to comeback in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but the inning ended on a ground ball to shortstop.

The Cougars gave Wallace three more runs in the top of the sixth and Forrest scored its final run of the game on a Wild RBI in the bottom of the frame.

A Boone Sweeney one-out double in the bottom of the seventh was the last time a Rockets would reach base for the season as Forrest made two groundouts to end the game.

Rough day

"It was just one of the days, one of those games, we just could not get anything going our way, it's just baseball," Joyce said.

The Rockets lost a bevy of seniors this year, but Joyce is confident that the Rockets will not miss a beat in the 2016-2017 season.

Jonathan Lykins will be one the key returning starters for the Rockets next season, who will look to build on the successes of the last four years.

"We have a good sophomore class and a good junior class," Joyce said. "We have our number two pitcher coming back in Johnny Lykins, we have Slayton Wild with a big stick in left field, Jacob Jones comes back for us and Dustin Brashear and Jaylen Smith saw a lot of time for us this year and will do a great job next season."

Tuesday, May 24

Jackson Christian 013 020 0-6 9 4

Forrest 200 001 0-3 6 2

Jackson Christian: Ethan Anderson 3-for-4, Tucker Burton 2-for-4, Miles Humphreys 1-for-2, Hunter Higdon 1-for-3, Carter Holt 1-for-3, Collin Cantrell 1-for-3

RS: Hayden Love, Humphreys, Higdon, Robert Wester, Anderson

BB: Wester 2, Humphreys, Higdon, Holt

2B: Higdon, Cantrell

RBI: Higdon, Wester, Ethan Joyner, Burton, Cantrell, Hunter Allen

SF: Joyner, Allen

FC: Love

HBP: Humphreys, Cantrell

SB: Love, Joyner

CS: Humphreys

Forrest: Ryan Yelensky 1-for-3, Austin Welty 1-for-4, Alex Brewer 1-for-2, Boone Sweeney 1-for-3, Jonathan Lykins 1-for-3, Slayton Wild 1-for-3

RS: Michael Dyer, Welty, Jaylen Smith

BB: Brewer 2, Yelensky

2B: Sweeney, Yelensky

RBI: Wild, Brewer ROE: Sweeney, Lykins, Welty

FC: Wild

SB: Wild

CS: Dyer, Brewer

WP: Carter Holt (7IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 11K, 3BB)

LP: Ryan Yelensky (2IP, 4H, 4R, 2ER, 3K, 3BB), Ethan Mealer (5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 3K, 2BB)

Wednesday May, 25

Goodpasture 022 200 40-8 11 2

Forrest 010 001 0-2 8 4

Goodpasture: Ryan Lyle 3-for-4, Jayme Gregory 3-for-4, Levi Thomas 2-for-5, Zach Wallace 2-for-4, Gage Gregory 1-for-4

RS: Wallace 2, Gage Gregory, David Wilson, Luke Dodson, Pine, Lyle, Jayme Gregory

2B: Jayme Gregory 2, Lyle,

RBI: Lyle 3, Gage Gregory, Wallace, Jayme Gregory

SAC: Cole Carter, Marshall Dearing

FC: Gage Gregory, Wilson, Dearing

HBP: Gage Gregory, Wyatt Blessing

Forrest: Boone Sweeney 2-for-4, Jacob Jones 2-for-3, Austin Welty 1-for-3, Alex Brewer 1-for-3, Slayton Wild 1-for-4, Landen Jones 1-for-3

RS: Wild, Michael Dyer

BB: Yelensky, Brewer, Jonathan Lykins

2B: Landen Jones, Sweeney

RBI: Jacob Jones 2

SAC: Welty

FC: Bryce Oliver, Lykins

WP: Zach Wallace (7IP, 8H, 2R, 1ER, 0K, 3BB)

LP: Jonathan Lykins (5IP, 10H, 6R, 4ER, 2K, 0BB), Jordan Jent (0IP, 1H, 2R, 0ER, 0K, 1BB), Alex Brewer (2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 4K, 0BB)