Eagles outlast Rockets in state sectional

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Forrest coach Bart Joyce coaches up senior Luke Cunningham, who had three hits in four at bats in the Class A sectional contest.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets (23-12-1) reached the end of the line to another successful baseball season as they lost 5-3 to Summertown in a Class A sectional game Friday night at Chapel Hill.

“We just couldn’t get that last chip, we couldn’t get a hit here and there,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “I told the boys there is nothing you did wrong, it’s just a great ball team that beat a great ball team.”

“I’m super proud of the way these kids played and their effort all year, they really showed out this year.”

Summertown was looking for some revenge from an ousting by the Rockets three years ago in a sectional game at home and they made it happen behind a great pitching performance by Logan Parott, who went the distance in the contest, surrendering nine hits, allowing two earned runs, striking out six and walking three Forrest batters.

Sophomore Ethan Mealer started on the mound for Forrest, but ran into early trouble and lasted just two innings before senior Jonathan Lykins came in and finished up the game with a valiant effort in his last appearance as a Rocket.

Senior Jonathan Lykins tossed five innings of sparkling relief in his last game as a Rocket.

Lykins went five innings, giving up one earned run on five hits, struck out four and walked zero Summertown hitters.

“He (Lykins) showed that senior leadership and drive on the mound,” said Joyce. “He did the job, but like a said, sometimes a great team beats a great team.”

Forrest outhit the Eagles nine to eight with Luke Cunningham going 3-for-4, while JT Ferguson and Blaize Sweeney had two hits apiece.

The downfall for the Rockets was leaving too many runners on base as they stranded nine in the contest, including two on and no outs in the bottom of the first inning and a huge bases loaded no out situation in the third.

Mealer set down Summertown down 1-2-3 in the top of the first and Ferguson led off the bottom of the inning with a base hit, but was picked off first base by Parott.

Cunningham followed with a double and went to third base on a fly ball to right field before the inning ended on a ground ball out.

Bradley Hukaba reached on catcher’s interference leading off the top of the second inning and Trey Trotter followed with a single to left field.

A Mealer wild pitch moved the runners up one base each and Summertown DH Matt Gamble made the Rockets pay with an RBI single.

Austin Morrow came on as a courtesy runner for Gamble and stole second before Jesse Matlox ripped a two-run single to center field, making it 3-0.

Freshman catcher Blaize Sweeney went 2-for-3 versus the Eagles.

Mealer and Sweeney came up with back-to-back singles to lead off the home half of the inning, but Parott retired the next three Forrest batters to squelch the threat.

Mealer walked the first two Summertown batters in the top of the third and a passed ball sent one to third base before Lykins came on in relief.

Koltar Houser made it a 4-0 contest with a sacrifice fly, but Lykins escaped the inning with no further damage.

Forrest came alive in the bottom of the third inning when Cunningham led off with a single and Dustin Brashear and Lykins drew back-to-back bases on balls to load the sacks with no outs.

Parott got a strikeout for the first out and he escaped the inning on a crucial 6-4-3 double play.

Lykins set down the Eagles in order in the top of the fourth inning and the Rockets finally broke through in the home half of the frame on a run scored via a Parott wild pitch and an RBI base knock by Ferguson to cut the Summertown lead in half at 4-2.

The Eagles responded with a run in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Houser to make it 5-2 and Forrest did not score in the home half of the inning.

Lykins remained strong on the hill for the Rockets in the sixth and Forrest cut the lead back to two runs again in the bottom of the inning via two Summertown errors and a wild pitch.

Dustin Brashear gets ready to put the tag down on a pickoff play at first base.

Lykins finished up his career with a no-run top of the seventh inning, but the Rockets went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to end their season.

“It’s the talk no coach wants to give when you get put out in a big game, in a tight game like that,” Joyce said. “The coaching staff is super proud of the way these boys have played and the effort they have given all year and as hard as they have worked for us. I just can’t say enough about them.”

Summertown 031 010 0-5 8 3

Forrest 000 201 0-3 9 1

Summertown: Koltar House 2-for-4, Trey Trotter 2-for-3, Jesse Matlox 2-for-3, Ashton Lacy 1-for-3, Matt Gamble 1-for-3

RBI: House 2, Matlox 2, Gamble

BB: Lacy, Lane Burleson

RS: Lacy 2, Bradley Huckaba, Trotter, Gamble

SAC Burleson, Kennan Ballinger

FC: Jase Ambrose

CI: Huckaba

CS: Matlox

LOB: 5

Fielding

E: Trotter 3

DP: Trotter, Lacy, Ballinger

WP: Logan Parott (7IP, 9H, 3R, 2ER, 6K, 3BB)

Forrest: Luke Cunningham 3-for-4, JT Ferguson 2-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 2-for-3, Ethan Mealer 1-for-4, Jacob Jones 1-for-3

2B: Cunningham

RBI: Ferguson

BB: Jonathan Lykins 2, Dustin Brashear

RS: Jones 2, Michael Dyer

SAC: Jaylen Smith, Ferguson

ROE: Jones, Lykins, Cunningham

FC: Mealer

GIDP: Mealer

CS: Cunningham

PIK: Ferguson

LOB: 9

E: Blaize Sweeney

LP: Ethan Mealer (2IP, 3H, 4R, 3ER, 1K, 2BB), Jonathan Lykins (5IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 4K, 0BB)