Rockets falter late, lose to Columbia in extra innings
Forrest entertained nearby Columbia Central for a non-conference matchup Thursday night at Chapel Hill and the Rockets gave the game away, committing eight errors in the field and grounding into three double plays in a 10-5 extra-inning loss.
“It wasn’t one of our better nights in the field,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “A baseball season is a long season and you’re going to have those nights, so we just got to bounce back on Monday and forget about this one.”
The Rockets banged out 12 hits in the contest with Dustin Brashear leading the way with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate.
Ethan Mealer had two hits and two RBI in four at bats, but grounded into a pair of inning ending double plays that spoiled a couple of more Forrest scoring chances.
Luke Cunningham had one and also hit into a double play that left the bases loaded.
“We did leave too many runners on base and we struggled getting the big hit when we needed it,” Joyce said. “Again, you’re just going to have those nights sometimes. We will make a few adjustments in practice and bounce back on Monday with a big district game versus Fayetteville.”
Drew Daughrity made his first start of the season and turned in a stellar effort, going 2-for-4 with a base on balls and Jonathan Lykins, Blaize Sweeney, Jacob Jones and Jaylen Smith all had one hit apiece.
The biggest hit of the game for Forrest came off the bat of Jarvis Lyttle, who drilled a two-run, game tying double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to send the game to extra innings.
The Rockets took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning via a bases load walk to JT Ferguson, but the Lions came up with three unearned runs off starting pitcher Jordan Jent in the top of the third as Forrest committed three errors in the frame.
Jent left the game with one out and was replaced by Dustin Brashear, who got the final two outs of the inning.
Forrest made it a 4-2 ballgame in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Mealer before Columbia added two more unearned runs in the top of the fourth to take a 5-2 lead.
Brashear held the Lions scoreless through the six inning and the Rockets added another run on a Mealer RBI base knock in the bottom of the fourth inning to slice the deficit to one run at 4-3.
Jackson Cook reached base on a Forrest error to lead off the top of the seventh and two batters later, Bryce Symlar roped an RBI double to make it a 5-3 contest.
“Pitching has been one of our most consistent aspects of our game this season,” Joyce said. “Jent, Brashear and Eady all kept that going tonight---we gave Columbia too many outs in the field, but our pitchers held it together, we just fell a little short in the end.”
Eady escaped any further damage and the Rockets looked like they would go down easy as Jonathon Lykins led off with a single, but was erased on the Lions’ third double-play of the game.
Blaize Sweeney, who had a rough game behind the plate, banged a single to keep the game alive and Daughrity followed with a base hit to right field to put Forrest runners on the corners.
Lucas Welch came in to run for Daughrity and stole second base before Lyttle came in to pinch hit for Smith and dropped a double down the left field line that scored both runners to tie the game at 5-5.
“Jarvis had a huge pinch hit in the seventh,” Joyce said. “It was a great opportunity for him and he came up big, extending the game for us.”
The game went to the eighth inning and the Rockets fell apart, committing three errors in the inning and a three-run double by Drew Williamson made it 10-5, heading to the bottom of the eighth where Columbia relief pitcher Dalton Rector set down Forrest 1-2-3 to end the game.
“Columbia is a close town and I would say it’s a friendly rivalry, but mainly its good competition for us to get ready for post-season,” Joyce stated. “Coach (Mark) Pickle runs a great program at Columbia and it’s always a close, good ballgame when we get the chance to play them.”
Forrest is 0-6 versus the Lions, dating back to 2002 and the two teams will meet again at Columbia on April 28.
The Rockets lost 4-1 at home to District 9A foe Fayetteville on Monday, but came back to beat the Tigers 10-0 at Fayetteville on Tuesday.
Forrest plays Nolensville on Thursday in a non-conference game.
“Moving forward as team, we just have to correct our mistakes and get ready for big district game on Monday,” Joyce said.
Columbia 003 100 15-10 11 1
Forrest 011 010 20-5 12 8
Columbia: Drew Williamson 4-for-5, Cole Flatt 2-for-5, Luke Flatt 1-for-4, Jackson Cook 1-for-5, Bryce Symlar 1-for-3, Jack Quinn 1-for-3, Caden Cameron 1-for-2
2B: Williamson, Symlar
RBI: Williamson 3, Symlar 2, Cole Flatt
BB: Hayden Dodson 2, Jaden Hamm, Nathan Ribley
RS: Jackson 3, Luke Flatt 2, Cole Flatt, Jackson, Hamm, Ribley
SAC: Bryce Symlar, Kade Bowden
ROE: Cook 3
HBP: Luke Flatt
SB: Cole Flatt, Symlar
CS: Cook, Symlar
E: Cole Flatt
WP: Hayden Dodson
Forrest: Dustin Brashear 3-for-5, Ethan Mealer 2-for-4, Drew Daughrity 2-for-4, Luke Cunningham 1-for-5, Jonathan Lykins 1-for-4, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-1, Jaylen Smith 1-for-3, Jacob Jones 1-for-4, Jarvis Lyttle 1-for-1
2B: Smith, Lyttle
RBI: Lyttle 2, Mealer 2, JT Ferguson
BB: Sweeney 2, Daughrity, Ferguson
RS: Dyer 3, Lucas Welch 2
FC: Lykins, Cunningham, Mealer
GIDP: Cunningham, Mealer 2
SB: Michael Dyer 2, Daughrity
E: Sweeney 4, Lykins 2, Cunningham, Grayson Whaley
LP: Dylan Eady (2IP, 4H, 5R, 0ER, 4K, 0BB), Jordan Jent (2.2IP, 4H, 3R, 0ER, 2K, 2BB), Dustin Brashear (3.1IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, 3K, 2BB)
Monday, April 10