Rockets win 13 inning marathon at Eagleville

Friday, March 24, 2017
Senior Jordan Jent came in with the game tied 2-2 and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and he went on to finish the game and pick up the win in the 13-inning marathon at Eagleville Thursday night.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After a 1-0 battle won by Forrest on Tuesday at Chapel Hill, the Rockets traveled to Eagleville to make up a game postponed from Monday and it turned into a war as the two District 9A rivals clashed for 13 innings before Forrest came out on top 4-2.

“I don’t know what you can say about that, it’s like this game right here if you win, you should get two district wins,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “It’s just two great ball teams that didn’t want to give up.”

“Luckily, we scratched a couple of runs across in the top of the thirteenth to get the job done.”

Senior Jordan Jent turned in his best performance of his career on the mound, coming in for starting pitcher Ethan Mealer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied 2-2.

Jent got out of the inning unscathed and went on to set down 18 out of next 20 Eagleville batters he faced in the contest, including four 1-2-3 frames.

Jent gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out six.

Mealer was just as effective on the hill, tossing 6.2 innings of five-hit ball, while striking out six, walking two, and giving up one earned run.

“The pitching battle has been great these last two ballgames, starting with Lykins last night,” Joyce said. “Tonight Mealer stepped in as a starter and did an excellent job and the senior Jent coming in behind him and doing an excellent job setting people down, keeping the ball low and getting playable balls off the bat that we make plays with.”

Luke Cunningham had another big night at the plate for Forrest, going 4-for-7 with a run scored and two stolen bases.

Luke Cunningham continued his torrid season at the plate, going 4-for-7 with two stolen bases and a run scored.

JT Ferguson also had a big night with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 13th inning.

The game was scoreless after four innings until Mealer led off the top of the fifth with a double down the left field line.

Gauge Anderson came in to run for Mealer and after a pop-up for an out, Ferguson stroked a single to left field.

Anderson went to third and Ferguson took second base on the throw.

Senior Jacob Jones put the Rockets in front 1-0 on a fielder’s choice RBI.

Mealer did not give up any runs in the bottom of the inning and the Rockets added another run in the top of the sixth, playing a little small ball.

Cunningham started the rally with a leadoff infield single and stole second.

Jonathan Lykins walked and Brett Burnham came in to run for the Forrest third baseman.

After several attempts to pick Burnham off first base he took off for second and Cunningham scored from third on the play to give the Rockets a 2-0 lead.

Ethan Mealer started on the mound for Forrest and pitched 6.2 innings, giving up just five hits and striking out six Eagleville batters.

Mealer retired the first two batters in the bottom of the sixth before Isaac Gleaves drew a base on balls.

Matthew Boyett singled to center field and Jonah Clements followed with a base hit to right field that drove in one run and Boyett scored on a wild throw that went into the Eagleville dugout, tying the game at 2-2.

The Rockets went down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh before Jent escaped the bottom of the inning to send the contest to extra innings.

Forrest had at least one runner on base in the next five innings, but could not score as Jent held the Eagles to just two bases runners through the 12th inning.

In the top of the 13th, Ferguson banged a two-out single to right field and Jones followed with a base hit to right to put Rockets on the corners.

JT Ferguson went 3-for-5 and had a base on balls, a run scored and a stolen base in Forrest’s extra inning victory.

A balk on the Eagleville pitcher sent Ferguson to the plate with the go-ahead run and Jaylen Smith provided Jent with an insurance run when he drilled a double to right field that scored Jones to make it 4-2.

“You never know what’s going to happen in an extra inning game like this and those little things matter,” Joyce said. “You get a bunt here and there, move a guy up, don’t hit a cutoff and things like that matter and leads to runs and it did tonight.”

Jent struck out the first Eagleville batters before a pair of fly balls ended the contest.

“I’m proud of the boys, proud of the fight, and proud of their determination to grind out a win,” Joyce said.

Forrest (5-2, 3-1) opens up another league home and away series on Monday at Moore County before the Raiders travel to Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

“We are going to get a day or two off and get back at it with Moore County on Monday and Tuesday,” Joyce said.

Forrest 000 011 000 000 2-4 12 2

Eagleville 000 002 000 000 0-2 6 1

Forrest: Luke Cunningham 4-for-7, JT Ferguson 3-for-5, Jaylen Smith 1-for-5, Jonathan Lykins 1-for-5, Dylan Eady 1-for-6, Ethan Mealer 1-for-3, Jacob Jones 1-for-5

2B: Smith, Mealer

RBI: Jones, Smith

BB: Smith 2, Lykins 2, Brashear 2, Blaize Sweeney, Ferguson

RS: Cunningham, Gauge Anderson, Ferguson, Jones

SAC: Brashear

ROE: Lykins

FC: Lykins

GIDP: Cunningham

SB: Luke Cunningham 2, JT Ferguson

CS: Brett Burnham

E: Dyer 2

WP: Jordan Jent (6.1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 6K, 1BB), Ethan Mealer (6.2IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 6K, 2BB)

Eagleville: Austin Wells 2-for-6, Matthew Boyett 2-for-3, Isaac Gleaves 1-for-3, Jonah Clement 1-for-4

2B: Gleaves

RBI: Clement

BB: Gleaves, Boyett, Joyner

RS: Boyett, Stottlemire

SAC: Gleaves, Clement

ROE: Kobe Timberlake

HBP: Boyett

CS: Austin Wells

E: Timberlake

LP: Moore