Tigers complete sweep over Rockets
The evening after the Tigers pulled off a tight 3-0 victory over Forrest, the two intra-county rivals turned district foes squared off again in Lewisburg on Tuesday night.
And while the fans of both squads that packed into a standing room only Joe George Field expected the Rockets (5-3, 0-2) to come out full steam ahead, it was the Tigers (5-2, 2-0) who jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning and a 8-0 lead following a four-run fourth inning before completing a sweep over the Chapel Hill club.
"Well, first of all, I think tonight we came out and swung the bat," MCHS coach Monk Reese stated. "Last night we put a few hits together when we had to, but tonight we were able to swing the bat a whole lot better than we did last night."
The Tigers finished the game with 10 hits and were led in the batter’s box by freshman Zach Graves with three hits and junior Mitchell Ford who finished with two hits for a game-high three runs batted it.
Forrest was led by shortstop Jaylen Smith, who added two out of four total hits for the visitors from Chapel Hill.
Marshall County pitcher Hunter Haurez came into the game with a 2-0 record and a perfect 0.00 ERA and did not give up his first hit of the season until a Dylan Eady infield single in the third inning.
"This was huge because it was a district win first of all and also because we know these guys," Haurez, who is now 3-0 on the season, said. "Like, I've played with them and played against them my whole life, so just to beat them and have bragging rights or whatever you want to say, it just feels good."
Haurez finished with a game-high seven strikeouts on 17 first strike pitches to go along with giving up four hits and three walks for his second complete game of the season.
The Rockets started the game with Dustin Brashear, who made it through just three innings before being replaced by Lane Allen after allowed two hits to start the fourth inning.
Allen managed to limit the damage done in the fourth before holding the Tigers scoreless over the final two innings.
The Forrest defense did little to back up its pitchers, giving up five errors on the night, including three throwing errors in the fourth inning that allowed three runs to score which resulted in an 8-0 advantage by the Tigers headed into the fifth inning.
"We actually hit a really good pitcher tonight," Reese admitted. "He can really throw the baseball. The Brashear kid is a nice pitcher. He's as good a high man as anybody and we just did a good job of staying back, hitting the ball and getting runners on base. And when you get runners on base you can make a lot of things happen."
The Tigers jumped out of the gate on fire, but also made the Rockets pay from some early mistakes by gaining three runs on three hits and two Rocket errors for an early 3-0 lead.
Ford picked up two first inning RBIs and Jackson Coward added an RBI single, but the Tigers also minimized the damage by leaving two runners on base.
Marshall County started the third inning with two outs, but Ford and Graves added back-to-back singles before Coward came up with his second RBI of the contest with a single up the middle for a 4-0 lead and once again the Tigers ended the inning with two more runners on base, leaving the door open for the Rockets.
The bottom finally fell out for the Rockets in the fourth when Haurez led off the inning with a single and Preston Shelton hit a single off the left center field fence before Walker Whaley made first base off a bunt when the throw sailed over the first baseman's head, allowing Bryson Whaley to score.
After Nathan Derryberry beat out an infield single, Jacob Autry reached on a fielder's choice to home, but the throw to the plate sailed over the catcher's head allowing the second run of the inning to score.
Ford followed with an RBI single into left field for a 7-0 lead before a bad throw from Allen trying to check the runner at first allowed Derryberry to cross the plate for the final Tiger run of the night.
The Rockets tried to rally in the sixth inning when Ryan Moses knocked in two runs on a single into center but with runners on second and third, Haurez struck out Drew Daughrity to end the threat and for all intents and purposes, end the contest.
"Haurez threw a great ballgame for us tonight," Reese stated. "He was able to finish strong despite that last little run they gave up. His pitch count got a little high, I like them to pitch about 15 per inning, and he went about 10 over that but he was able to finish strong and I was happy with that."
Weather permitting the Tigers will face Ardmore, Al on Friday and Ensworth on Saturday while the Rockets will take on Goodpasture in Eagleville in the Single A Classic on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. and Scotts Hill the next day at 3:00 p.m.
Forrest 000 002 0-2 4 5
MCHS 301 400 X-8 10 1
Forrest: Jaylen Smith 2-for-3, Ryan Moses 1-for-3, Dylan Eady 1-for-3.
BB: Smith, Dustin Brashear, Ethan Mealer, Lane Allen.
RBI: Moses 2.
FC: Grayson Whaley.
HBP: Blaize Sweeney.
Team LOB: 7
E: Brashear 2, Smith, Mealer, Brett Burnham.
LP: Dustin Brashear (3IP, 8H. 7R, 2ER, 1K, 0BB), Lane Allen (3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 2K, 1BB).
Marshall County: Zach Graves 3-for-3, Preston Shelton 2-for-4, Mitchell Ford 2-for-4, Nathan Derryberry 1-for-4, Jackson Coward 1-for-3, Hunter Haurez 1-for-3.
RS: Shelton 2, Walker Whaley 2, Derryberry, J.W. Beasley, Ford, Bryson Whaley.
BB: Colton Barber.
RBI: Ford 3, Coward 2, Autry, Walker Whaley.
SAC: Walker Whaley.
ROE: Autry 2, Walker Whaley 2, Derryberry.
SB: Derryberry, Bryson Whaley, Walker Whaley.
Team LOB: 6
WP: Hunter Haurez (7IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 7K, 4BB).