Rockets ride winning wave to district title game
People who didn’t know them counted them out.
That was a big mistake.
The Forrest Rockets are red hot at the right time after winning their fourth straight potential season ending elimination game.
After losing to Murfreesboro Central Magnet (MCM) in the first round of the District 12-AA Tournament, the Rockets have staved off elimination with a wins over Community, Marshall County, Nolensville, and a nail-biting 4-3 win over MCM at Nolensville in Tuesday night’s loser’s bracket final on a Drew Daughrity walk off single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“These last three days of this tournament have been just unreal,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “This team, these seniors and all the way down through everybody on that team. Those 25 guys have more fight in them than anybody I have ever seen.”
Forrest also earned its sixth consecutive trip to the region tournament round and will defend back-to-back-to-back district tournament titles when they take on top-seeded Giles County (20-8) today at 4:30 p.m. in Nolensville.
The Rockets won three straight Class A District 9-A Tournament championships before moving to Class AA this season.
Forrest (19-14) tries for win number 20 on the season and has to beat the Bobcats twice today to claim the District 12-AA crown. The two squads split a doubleheader at Forrest on April 25 with the Rockets winning the first game 6-1 and the Bobcats taking the second game of the twin bill 5-0.
“I’m proud of them and we are moving into the championship game tomorrow,” Joyce said. “They have got it in them to fight back and keep fighting to achieve the goal they have in mind and I just can’t say enough about these guys.”
Back to Tuesday.
Dylan Eady pitched the game of life, picking up the complete game victory as the senior hurler gave up two earned runs on eight hits, while striking out six and walking one Tiger batter.
“What an excellent job as a senior and coming in and throwing that shutdown game that we needed,” Joyce said. “The defense was great behind him and they played great in all aspects of the game.”
Eady was wheeling and dealing the entire the contest, allowing one baserunner through the first two innings before MCM (19-18) touched him for a pair of runs in the top of the third inning.
Eady tossed a scoreless fourth inning, but an RBI single by CJ Campbell in the top of the fifth inning put Forrest in a 3-0 hole.
Eady went on to put the hammer down, only allowing two baserunners after that.
“I knew all of our pitching was exhausted and I knew I had to come in and pound the strike zone, I left a couple pitches up and they did what every good baseball does barreling them up and got some hits and scored a few runs,” Eady said. “But we got fight in us and we weren’t going out that easy.”
Tiger hurler Patrick Norman was brilliant as well, shutting out the Rockets through the first five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth inning the Forrest bats came alive, sparked by a one-out double off the bat of Grayson Whaley.
After a groundout, the Rockets rallied with two down as Blaize Sweeney got the Rockets on the board with an RBI base hit to right field.
Daughrity came up with an infield single on some confusion by the MCM defense and JT Ferguson tied the game at 3-3 on a single to center field and a bobble that allowed Sweeney and Daughrity to score standing up.
Eady allowed a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning, but escaped via a whiff and he also let Norman get on base with two outs in the top of the seventh, but picked off Norman’s pinch runner to send the contest to the bottom of the seventh inning.
Norman induced a pop-up for the first out before Ethan Mealer ripped a two-strike pitch to center field and Gauge Anderson came in to run for Mealer.
Blaize Sweeney worked a crucial 3-2 count base on balls to put Anderson in scoring position and Daughrity had two strikes on him before he found the 4-3 hole and Anderson scored standing up to send the Rockets to tonight’s title game.
“It’s a new season and that’s how we are treating it and we just take it one inning at a time,” Joyce said. “There is no doubt these boys will fight and play their best and leave it all out there and let it fall where it falls.”
MCM 001 010 0-3 9 0
Forrest 000 030 1-4 8 1
MCM: Stephan Laird 2-for-4, CJ Campbell 2-for-3, Jack Smith 2-for-3, Porter Hendrixson 1-for-4, Patrick Norman 1-for-3.
RS: Hendrixson, Laird, Smith.
2B: Norman, Campbell.
RBI: Hendrixson, Campbell.
SAC: Dawson Massengale.
PIK: Hayden Petty.
Team LOB: 6
DP: Hendrixson, Dawson, Massengale.
LP: Patrick Norman (7IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 4K, 2BB).
Forrest: Ethan Mealer 2-for-3, Drew Daughrity 2-for-3, JT Ferguson 1-for-3, Jaylen Smith 1-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-3.
RS: Gauge Anderson, Whaley, Sweeney, Daughrity.
BB: Dylan Eady, Sweeney.
2B: Ferguson, Whaley.
RBI Ferguson 2, Sweeney, Daughrity.
Team LOB: 2
WP: Dylan Eady (7IP, 9H, 3R, 2ER, 6K, 1BB).