Rockets upset Creekwood, move on to region title game

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Forrest’s Ethan Mealer tossed a three-hit gem to lead the Rockets to a 3-0 win at Creek Wood in Monday night’s Region 6-AA Tournament opening round.
Tribune file photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets displayed their resiliency once again as they bounced back from a loss to Giles County in the District 12-AA title game last week with a huge 3-0 road win at Creek Wood Monday in the Region 6-AA Tournament opener.

“The team played great, they fought the entire game and kept the team in a good position to win the game,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “The coaching staff is very proud of how the team has fought the entire season and how they have played.”

“Throughout the postseason they fought just stay alive and it was no different last night.”

Ethan Mealer turned in his second outstanding postseason performance in a row on the mound, tossing 6.2 innings of three-hit, shutout ball that included 12 strikeouts and just one base on balls.

Senior workhorse Dylan Eady came on to earn the save.

“Mealer pitched the ball very good,” Joyce said. “He was on the plate and kept the team in position to come out with a win.”

“Dylan Eady came in the game and also did a good job at keeping the team right where we needed to be to get the win.”

Mealer and Creek Wood starting pitcher Dylan Berry were locked in a pitcher’s duel until the top of the sixth inning when Berry could not find the plate as he walked four Forrest batters in a row and uncorked two wild pitches that allowed a pair of Forrest runs.

Berry only gave up one hit in six innings of work on the hill for the Red Hawks, but his seven walks allowed was eventually the difference in the contest.

J.T. Ferguson had a seventh-inning RBI single for one of just three hits by the Rockets in the contest.

Mealer struck out two out of the four batters he faced in a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning and in the top of the seventh, Forrest added an insurance run on an RBI single by J.T. Ferguson to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

“We put the baseball in play, really all game,” Joyce said. “We just hit the baseball in the air too much early in the game, but settled in and was patient and got a couple key walks along with a couple of bunts and key hits to put us in a good spot later in the game.”

Mealer recorded back-to-back outs to begin the bottom of the seventh inning, but gave up a two-out hit to Luke Hinson before Eady came to the hill in relief.

The Red Hawks loaded the bases with another hit and a walk, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate, but the steady Eady whiffed him to end the game and send Forrest (20-10) to the region title game tonight at home versus Stewart County (23-5) with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.

“It's been a while since we have played a game here,” Joyce said. “It will be a great to be playing at home and I know the coaching staff and team are excited about the game. Stewart County will be a tough opponent, but not a doubt the team will be ready to go.”

With a win, Forrest will host a state sectional game in Chapel Hill on Friday and a setback sends the Rockets to the home field of the winner of the Sycamore (19-9) versus MLK (22-4) Region 5-AA title game at Nashville tonight.

Forrest 000 002 1-3 3 0

Creek Wood 000 000 0-0 4 0

Forrest: J.T. Ferguson 1-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-2.

RS: Jaylen Smith, Sweeney, Gauge Anderson.

BB: Ferguson, Smith, Dylan Eady, Dustin Brashear, Ryan Moses, Ethan Mealer, Sweeney.

RBI: Brashear, Ferguson.

SAC: Drew Daughrity, Smith.

SB: Ferguson, Smith, Sweeney.

PIK: Devon Aydelot.

Team LOB: 5

WP: Ethan Mealer (6.2IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 12K, 1BB).

SAVE: Dylan Eady (0.1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 1BB).

Creekwood: Mitch Duke 2-for-2, Luke Hinson 1-for-3, Luke Street 1-for-3.

BB: Duke, Sam Batey.

SB: Duke.

CS: Duke.

Team LOB: 5.