Derryberry pitches, hits Tigers to win over Forrest
Nathan Derryberry was on his game Monday night at Chapel Hill, leading the Marshall County Tigers to a 3-0 win over intra-county rival Forrest in the first-ever district game between the two county schools.
“To my knowledge we have never played Forrest in a district ballgame as long as I have been around,” MCHS coach Mike “Monk” Reese said. “I’ve been around a long time, all my life, we have played them some and they have beat us a few times and we have beat them more than they have beat us, but they always have had great baseball programs and I knew that going into the game.”
“It’s kind of mixed emotions playing Chapel Hill, I have a lot of kin folk down here and a lot of friends down here.”
Derryberry tossed a complete game shutout on the hill and had three hits in four at bats, including the go-ahead RBI in the top of the sixth inning to claim the District 12-AA victory.
“This is one of the biggest games we were looking for all season,” Derryberry said. “Since we stepped into the fieldhouse in August our goal was to come out here and beat Forrest any way we could, just a rivalry we have always had.”
Derryberry scattered four hits, while striking out nine and walking three Forrest batters.
It was a pitcher’s duel from the outset as Derryberry battled Forrest’s Ethan Mealer, who gave up five hits in his six-inning stint on the mound, striking out eight and walking three.
“Nathan pitched an outstanding ballgame, I don’t think he ever got tired and he threw around 100 pitches which is OK for a seven inning ballgame,” Reese said. “We got some key hits when we needed to and made some big defensive plays when we needed to.”
“It was a great ballgame to watch, if I was a spectator it was just a great game to watch.”
Both squads had one baserunner in the first inning, but did score and Mealer set down the Tigers 1-2-3 in the top of the second inning.
Forrest threatened in the home half of the inning as Blaize Sweeney led off with a single and after Derryberry got a strikeout for the first out, Grayson Whaley singled to put Rocket baserunners on first and second.
A balk moved both runners up one base each, but Derryberry reared back to get a strikeout for the second out and got out of the jam on a fly ball to Mitchell Ford in center field.
Forrest got a runner to second base in the bottom of the third inning and the Tigers got one there in the top of the fourth, but both hurlers worked their way out of two-out jams and the game remained scoreless through four innings.
Mealer struck out the side in order in the top of the fifth inning and Derryberry set down the Rockets 1-2-3 in the home half of the inning.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Preston Shelton singled to left field and Walker Whaley reached on a fielder’s choice before Derryberry delivered an RBI double to the right/center field gap, scoring Shelton to make it 1-0.
Jacob Autry made it a 3-0 contest when he drilled a base hit left field that scored both runners and gave Derryberry some extra insurance.
“It felt good,” Autry said. “I just came up at the right moment and got a hit for my team.”
“But we gotta win tomorrow night or this don’t mean nothing.”
A pair of bases on balls to Ford and Jackson Coward, bookended a second out to load the bases, but Mealer got out of any further damage with an inning ending strikeout.
Derryberry set down the first two Rocket batters in the bottom of the inning before an infield single by Sweeney and single to left by Mealer put runners on first and second, but once again Derryberry came up huge with an inning ending strikeout.
Grayson Whaley came to the hill for Mealer in the top of the seventh and held the Tigers in check.
Pinch hitter Jarvis Lyttle walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh, giving the Rockets some hope that was quickly dashed by Derryberry, who retired the next three Forrest batters in order to end the game.
“This feels good, we did it as a team,” Derryberry said. “We are just behind each other 100 percent this year, nobody is getting down at all, it doesn’t matter what we do, we just stay up and that’s what we have been working on all season.”
The two squads met again at Lewisburg on Tuesday night.
“That was a great pitcher’s battle right there, two guys just throwing it out there,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “They got a couple hits there and got some runs in and that’s all you can say about it.”
“That’s just two good ball teams playing baseball. We have another district game with them tomorrow and we will go out there and see what happens, I’m sure it will be another close ballgame.”
Marshall County 000 003 0-3 5 1
Forrest 000 000 0-0 4 1
Marshall County: Nathan Derryberry 3-for-4, Preston Shelton 1-for-4, Jacob Autry 1-for-3.
RS: Shelton, Walker Whaley, JW Beasley.
BB: Walker Whaley, Mitchell Ford, Jackson Coward.
RBI: Autry 2, Derryberry.
FC: Walker Whaley.
CS: Walker Whaley.
Team LOB: 6
E: Peyton Graves.
WP: Nathan Derryberry (7IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 9K, 3BB).
Forrest: Blaize Sweeney 2-for-3, Ethan Mealer 1-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-2.
BB: Jaylen Smith, Grayson Whaley, Jarvis Lyttle.
ROE: JT Ferguson.
Team LOB: 7
LP: Ethan Mealer (6IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 8K, 3BB), Grayson Whaley (1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB).