Ferguson hit sparks Rockets over Moore County

Friday, March 31, 2017
JT Ferguson drills a two-run single in the fourth inning, giving the Rockets a lead they would not surrender in a 7-1 win over Moore County Tuesday night at Chapel Hill.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

For the second week in a row, the Monday road game of a home and away series for Forrest was rained out and just like Eagleville last week, it paid off once again on Tuesday as the Rockets hosted Moore County and won 7-1.

Baseball is a series, we have Moore County again tomorrow night and I told the boys you cant take any game for granted, Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. You have to show up and play every day, especially these district games where you have to play it like its the most important game at that moment.

It was the third straight District 9A win for Forrest that was sparked by the hot bat of JT Ferguson, batting in the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

I have just been hitting the ball good, getting on base and having good at bats, Ferguson said.

The junior outfielder, who is leading the Rockets in batting with a sparkling .471 average, went 2-for-4, including a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning that broke a scoreless tie.

He has been swinging the bat well the last few games and we thought we needed to try that out and he came through tonight, Joyce said. We have been struggling getting guys in after we get them on and he came up big tonight with that two-run shot that got us going.

Forrest ace Jonathan Lykins went the distance on the mound for the Rockets, throwing just 66 pitches, striking out eight, walking zero and giving up just two hits in the contest.

Jonathan Lykins picked up the win on the hill for the Rockets, tossing a complete game two-hitter.

He was on the money tonight going to the plate, Joyce said. He has been our senior Monday guy that we turn to on district games and he got the job done again tonight like he has done in previous weeks.

The only run scored by the Raiders came in the top of the fifth inning when a pair of wild throws by Lykins on balls back to the box allowed Moore County to score without a hit.

I just got in a rush and made some bad throws, Lykins said. It feels good being the number one guy, but I dont do it by myself, its the whole team and they get me up when Im down, its just an entire team effort.

We always have to keep challenging ourselves to get better and better and better.

The Rockets left at least one baserunner stranded in each of the first three innings before they broke through in the home half of the fourth.

Dylan Eady, who had two hits in the game, banged a one-out single to get things going for Forrest and Blaize Sweeney followed with a base hit to right field to put Rockets on the corners.

Lucas Welch came on to run for Sweeney and stole second before a pop-up for the second out.

Senior Jacob Jones drew a two-out walk to load the sacks before Ferguson delivered, pounding a one strike pitch to left field that scored Eady and Welch.

I knew he was about to groove one right down the middle, Ferguson said. He had me 2-1 and he grooved me down the middle and I squared it up and got those two runs in.

Lykins had his fielding lapse in the top of the fifth, but the Rockets gave the big righty four runs in the home half of the inning and that was more than what he needed.

Freshman catcher Blaize Sweeney had two hits in the contest, including a squeeze bunt RBI single in the fifth inning.

Sweeney made it 3-0 with his perfectly executed squeeze bunt and three more runs scored on a pair of Moore County wild pitches and a passed ball, making it 6-1.

Eady added an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning, while Lykins set down the Raiders 1-2-3 in the final two innings to secure the win.

Carson Templeton and starting and losing pitcher Cameron Pykiet had one hit apiece for Moore County.

Pykiet went 4.2 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, while striking out three, walking four, and beaning Forrest first baseman Dustin Brashear twice.

Rocket shortstop Jaylen Smith fields a ground ball before gunning down a Moore County baserunner in the second inning.

The Rockets travelled to Moore County Wednesday to finish up the series and they got the sweep as Ethan Mealer tossed a complete game one-hitter on the mound and he got plenty of support as Forrest (5-2, 5-1) banged out 10 hits in a 9-0 win.

Moore County 000 010 0-1 2 2

Forrest 000 241 X-7 8 4

Moore County: Carson Templeton 1-for-3, Cameron Pykiet 1-for-2

SAC: Bryson Dobbs, Dillion Taylor

ROE: Clay Burnett, Jimmy Stewart, Bryson Dobbs, River Hasty

FC: Coy Cashion, River Hasty

E: Cashion, Pykiet

RS: Hasty

LP: Pykiet

Forrest: JT Ferguson 2-for-4, Dylan Eady 2-for-4, Blaize Sweeney 2-for-3, Dustin Brashear 1-for-2, Ethan Mealer 1-for-3

2B: Eady

RBI: Ferguson 2, Sweeney, Eady

BB: Jaylen Smith 2, Luke Cunningham, Mealer, Sweeney, Jacob Jones

RS: Brashear 2, Lucas Welch 2, Mealer, Eady, Smith

ROE: Ferguson

HBP: Brashear 2

SB: Ferguson 2, Sweeney, Jones

E: Jonathan Lykins 2, Mealer 2

WP: Jonathan Lykins (7IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 8K, 0BB)

Wednesday, March 29 at Moore County

Forrest 010 602 0-9 10 1

Moore County 000 000 0-0 1 9

Forrest: Luke Cunningham 3-for-5, Jacob Jones 2-for-3, JT Ferguson 1-for-3, Lucas Welch 1-for-1, Jonathan Lykins 1-for-4, Dustin Brashear 1-for-4, Dylan Eady 1-for-4

2B: Jones

RBI: Lykins 2, Cunningham 2, Welch, Eady

BB: Blaize Sweeney 3, Jaylen Smith 2, Lykins, Mealer, Gauge Anderson, Ferguson

RS: Smith 2, Ferguson, Welch, Cunningham, Lykins, Brashear, Sweeney, Jones

SAC: Smith, Ferguson

ROE: JT Ferguson 2, Smith, Eady, Cunningham

FC: Eady, Brashear

HBP: Jones, Smith

E: Lykins

WP: Mealer (7IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 7K, 2BB)

Moore County: Ryder Morey 1-for-3

BB: Garrett Jennings, Gage Parks

ROE: Bryson Dobbs

FC: Jennings

E: Clay Burnett 2, Jennings 2, Hunter Brown 2, Jimmy Stewart, Dobbs, Dillion Taylor

LP: Carson Templeton