Rockets split, stay alive with run-rule win
The Forrest Rockets displayed their resiliency once again on Wednesday at the TSSAA Spring Fling XV as they came back from a heartbreaking 10-8 extra-inning defeat to Greenville with a dominating 13-1 five-inning, run-rule win over Smith County to stay alive in the Class AA division.
Forrest almost pulled off the comeback for the ages versus Greenville as they trailed 6-1 in the fifth inning before saddling up with six straight runs to take a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
The Rockets were three outs away from the all-important winner’s bracket victory, but Greeneville came up with the game-tying run in the top of the seventh inning and then added three more runs in the eighth inning to claim the win and put themselves in the driver’s seat in the bottom portion of the Class AA bracket.
“That was one of those games that could have gone either way,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “We fought and fought, got five runs down and came back.”
Decatur County-Riverside is undefeated in the top half of the bracket and has to be beaten twice by Elizabethton today at Smyrna High School.
“It’s just an unreal fight these guys have and we are still playing tomorrow,” Joyce added. “They will have to bring that fight to the ballpark tomorrow and no doubt they can do it for sure.”
The Rockets need a two-game sweep over the Greene Devils today at Blackman High School to advance to the winner take all final game on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at MTSU's Reese Smith Jr. Field.
Forrest had nine hits versus Greeneville with J.T. Ferguson (2RS) and Dustin Brashear (2B, RBI, 2RS) coming up with two hits apiece, while Dylan Eady (2RBI, 2RS, BB), Ethan Mealer (2B, 2RBI), Grayson Whaley, Ryan Moses (2B), and Blaize Sweeney (2B, RS) all had one base knock.
Jacques Gillespie and Braden Spano had homeruns to lead the 10-hit Greene Devils’ offensive attack and Keylan Newton picked up the win in relief on the mound for Greeneville.
Eady suffered the defeat in relief for the Rockets versus Greeneville, but came up huge in the second game versus Smith County, tossing 2.1 innings of one-hit baseball to pick up the victory on the hill for Chapel Hill.
After the emotional defeat in game one, the Rockets could have folded the tent and went back home to Chapel Hill, but instead they came out smoking hot to score six runs in the top of the first inning to take complete control of the game at the outset.
“They came out swinging the bat, they came out determined, and they came out and knew what they had to do and boy, they came out and got it,” Joyce said. “We are still playing, so we will come out tomorrow and give it all we got.”
Forrest banged out 17 hits in just four at-bats with Mealer going a perfect 4-for-4 with a two-run homerun, two doubles, three runs scored, and four RBIs.
Whaley (2RBI, 2RS, BB) and Daughrity (three 2B, RBI) went 3-for-3, Eady (RS) and Dustin Brashear (3RS, 2B, RBI) posted 2-for-4 performances, and Ferguson and Jaylen Smith (RS, BB) had one hit apiece.
Sweeney also had one hit in the game, but it was a big one as he slammed a first-inning grand slam homerun to put the Rockets in the driver’s seat 6-0.
With a depleted pitching staff that will be absent of Mealer, Brashear, Eady, and Whaley, the Rockets will rely on the arms of Lane Allen, Cody Sisk, Sweeney, Jarvis Lyttle, Smith, and Connor Lewis today versus the Greene Devils.
“It won’t be an easy task, they (Greeneville) swing the bat, but we swung it pretty well there too, so we just have to keep grinding and keep fighting,” Joyce said. “That’s been this team’s thing is the fight and the grind and no doubt they will do that.”
Forrest and Greeneville play at 2 p.m. today at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro and game two will be at 4:30 p.m. if the Rockets beat the Greene Devils.
Greeneville 012 030 13-10 13 2
Forrest 100 024 01-8 9 2
Greeneville: Dalton McLain 3-for-5, Jacques Gillespie 2-for-4, Braden Spano 2-for-2, Trey Massengill 2-for-2, Augustus Frailey 1-for-4, Jordan Idell 1-for-4, Caleb Norris 1-for-4, Nick Iezzi 1-for-1.
RS: McClain 3, Gillespie 3, Idell 2, Frailey, Spano.
BB: Idell, Gillespie, Avery Collins, Jake Godwin.
HR: Gillespie, Spano.
2B: Frailey, Idell, Gillespie.
RBI: Gillespie 3, Frailey, Idell, Gillespie.
ROE: Idell, Norris, Collins.
FC: Norris, Godwin.
Team LOB: 9.
E: Bryce Buchanan, Frailey.
WP: Keylan Newton.
Forrest: J.T. Ferguson 2-for-4, Dustin Brashear 2-for-4, Dylan Eady 1-for-4, Ethan Mealer 1-for-5, Grayson Whaley 1-for-4, Ryan Moses 1-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-3.
RS: Ferguson 2, Jaylen Smith 2, Eady 2, Brashear, Sweeney.
BB: Smith 2, Eady, Ferguson.
2B: Brashear, Mealer, Moses, Sweeney.
RBI: Eady 2, Mealer 2, Brashear.
SAC: Moses, Smith.
HBP: Brashear, Sweeney.
Team LOB: 9.
LP: Dylan Eady.
Forrest 620 32X X-13 17 1
Smith County 100 00X X-1 3 2
Forrest: Ethan Mealer 4-for-4, Grayson Whaley 3-for-3, Drew Daughrity 3-for-3, Dylan Eady 2-for-4, Dustin Brashear 2-for-4, J.T. Ferguson 1-for-4, Jaylen Smith 1-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-4.
RS: Brashear 3, Mealer 3, Whaley 2, Devin Aydelot 2, Jaylen Smith, Eady, Sweeney.
BB: Smith, Whaley.
HR: Sweeney, Mealer.
Grand Slam: Sweeney.
2B: Daughrity 3, Mealer 2, Brashear.
RBI: Mealer 4, Sweeney 4, Whaley 2, Moses, Brashear, Daughrity.
ROE: Brashear, Daughrity.
FC: Moses, Smith.
Team LOB: 6
WP: Dylan Eady.
Smith County: Jase Holder 1-for-3, Eli Martin 1-for-1, Matthew Enoch 1-for-2.
Team LOB: 4
E: Carson Hackett, Martin.
LP: Dustin Mimms.