Rockets even up series
After a tough 4-3 opening season loss at Community on Wednesday, the Forrest Rockets bounced back with a big 5-0 shutout win over the Vikings at Chapel Hill on Thursday.
“They bounced back great and that’s what we have to do,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “Baseball is a long season and you have those games, but they came back good and when we got the lead tonight they maintained it and kept it rolling.”
Ethan Mealer, who picked up the loss with some late inning wildness at Community showed some strong resiliency as he started on the mound on Thursday and tossed 4.1 innings of shutout ball, giving up three hits, striking out six and walking five batters to pick of the win.
Jordan Jent was sparking in relief, holding Community hitless after coming on for Mealer with one out in the fifth inning.
Luke Cunningham went 3-for-4 with four RBI in the game, while Jaylen Smith had one hit for Forrest and scored twice.
“Luke Cunningham came up with a big hit and Lykins and Jaylen was there too,” Joyce said. “We had some big hits all around, we ran the bases well and moved some guys up in big situations and had those timely hits.”
Second baseman Cunningham and shortstop Smith bailed Mealer out in the first inning when they turned a 6-4-3 inning ending double play, but Community starter Robby Gray also escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the first.
“Defensively, we have played well the last two games and that’s kinda of our game,” Joyce said. “We just have to play good defense and keep them off the base paths, so if we just make the routine plays we will be pretty good.”
Mealer struck out two Vikings in a scoreless top of the second inning before the Rockets broke through with a three-run home half of the inning.
Dylan Eady walked to lead off the inning and after a Forrest strikeout, JT Ferguson reached on a bunt single and a double steal put the Rocket base runners on second and third.
Jacob Jones drew a base on balls to load the sacks before Eady was out on a fielder’s choice at home.
Cunningham stepped up and drilled a shot into the right/center field gap to clear the bases and make it 3-0 before Gray got out the inning with a fly ball to right field.
Mealer struck out two and walked two in another scoreless inning and the Rockets went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third.
Community loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fourth, but an interference call at home play plate resulted in an inning ending double play for Mealer.
Blaize Sweeney walked to lead off the bottom of the inning and Lucas Welch came in to run for the Forrest catcher.
Ferguson moved Welch to second on a sacrifice bunt and after a Forrest strikeout, Smith drove in Welch with a line drive to center filed, making it 4-0.
Smith swiped second and scored on a Cunningham RBI based knock to center to round out the scoring for Forrest.
Jent came on with one out and one on in the top of the fifth and recorded two straight outs and in the sixth inning, Jent set down Community 1-2-3.
In the top of the seventh a two-out error kept the game alive for Community until a groundball to Smith ended the game.
The Rockets (1-2, 1-1) were on the short end of a 6-5 non-conference loss to Nolensville Friday night at Chapel Hill and have a big home and away series at Eagleville yesterday and at home today with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
March 16 at Forrest
Community 000 000 0-0 3 0
Forrest 030 020 X-5 6 1
Community: Robby Gray 1-for-2, G Garette 1-for-2, Landon Langley 1-for-3
BB: Spencer Smith, Gray, Garette, Kirk Taylor, T Bushwell
TB: Gray, Garrett, Langley
FC: Preston Bennett
Forrest: Luke Cunningham 3-for-4, Jaylen Smith 1-for-4, Jonathan Lykins 1-for-3, JT Ferguson 1-for-2
RBI: Luke Cunningham 4, Smith
BB: Dylan Eady, Blaize Sweeney, Jacob Jones
RS: Smith 2, Lucas Welch, JT Ferguson, Jones
FC: Smith, Dustin Brashear
HBP: Jones, Sweeney
SB: Jones, Smith, Dylan Eady, Ferguson
WP: Ethan Mealer (4.1IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 6K, 5BB), Jordan Jent (2.2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB)
March 17 at Forrest
Nolensville 100 302 0-6 9 3
Forrest 102 020 0-5 11 1
Nolensville: Conder 3-for-4, Robble 2-for-3, Loveridge 2-for-4, Young 1-for-4, Steltmann 1-for-4
2B: Robble, Conder
RBI: Conder 3, Collett, Robble, Smith
BB: Robble, Smith, Coutras, Collett
RS: Robble 2, Hammonds, Young, Steltmann, Collett
SAC: Smith, Coutras
SB: Smith, Conder
E: Conder, Loveridge, Coutras
Forrest: Blaize Sweeney 2-for-4, Michael Dyer 2-for-3, Jaylen Smith 1-for-2, Luke Cunningham 1-for-4, Dustin Brashear 1-for-2, Grayson Whaley 1-for-1, Jordan Jent 1-for-2, Lucas Welch 1-for-4, Jacob Jones 1-for-3
2B: Jones, Brashear
RBI: Dyer, Brashear, Sweeney
BB: Smith 2
RS: Smith 2, Jonathan Lykins, Gauge Anderson, Brett Burnham
SB: Smith, Lykins
LP: Grayson Whaley (2.1IP, 5H, 5R, 3ER, 1K, 4BB), Dustin Brashear (3IP), 4H, 1R, 1ER, 3K, 0BB), Dylan Eady (1.2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB)