Tigers, Rockets win on home fields to split district season series
The Marshall County Tigers and Forrest Rockets hooked up in a home and away District 12-AA series on Monday and Tuesday with Lewisburg winning 9-0 at Joe George Field and Chapel Hill taking a 2-1 win to garner the split.
“I’m proud of the way we bounced back, we just didn’t have our night last night,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “Marshall County played an excellent game, they are a great ballclub over there.”
Hunter Huarez tossed a complete game shutout on Monday, scattering four hits while striking out eight and walking three Forrest batters.
Marshall County also had four hits in the contest, but were helped out by five Forrest errors and seven bases on balls.
Peyton Graves, Preston Shelton, Haurez, and J.W. Beasley all had one hit apiece with Beasley driving in two runs while Walker Whaley, Ryan Kirby, Haurez, Graves, and Shelton all knocked home one run.
Grayson Whaley was the tough luck loser for the Rockets as surrendered just two hits and gave up eight runs (three earned) in two innings on the hill.
Marshall County opened the scoring with two unearned runs in the second inning and the floodgates sprung wide-open in the top of the second as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on just two hits to put the game away.
Forrest left six runners on base in the contest as Huarez set down the Rockets in order in the first, second, third, and seventh innings.
Huarez was backed up by a flawless Tigers’ defense that did not have a miscue, cleanly fielding six ground balls and three fly outs.
Huarez escaped a bases loaded two-out jam in the fifth and worked his way out of a two-on, one-out situation in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cannon Cervantes had a solid relief stint for the Rockets as he tossed four innings of one-hit ball.
The two teams reassembled at Chapel Hill on a chilly Tuesday night and they combined for 13 hits (all singles) in the contest with the Rockets getting seven base knocks and the Tigers scraping out six in the 2-1 Forrest victory.
“We knew it was going to be a great ballgame,” Joyce said. “It was good to get a win like that in a tight ballgame like that, so it was a great win for the boys and the team after what we showed last night.”
For all the baserunners, the two ball clubs had trouble getting them home as the Tigers left 13 stranded on the sacks and the Rockets left eight out in the cold.
Ethan Mealer picked up the win on the mound for the Rockets, tossing 5.2 inning and giving up one earned run on six hits while striking out six and walking four Marshall County batters.
Cody Sisk came on for Mealer in the top sixth inning with two-on and two-out and after a Forrest error loaded the sacks, Sisk got out of the tight spot on a pop-up to Whaley at first base.
Sisk gave up a pair of walks in the top of the seventh before he came up with a game-ending strikeout to earn his first save of the season.
“Both pitchers did a great job tonight,” Joyce said. “Sisk did a great job coming in there in the sixth inning and throwing strikes and doing what he was supposed to do and Mealer starting the game and getting us to where we were, so hats off to both of them.”
Mitchell Ford pitched well for the Tigers, giving up just five hits and striking out four and walking four Forrest batters.
Marshall County left two runners stranded in each of the first two innings before the Rockets broke the deadlock in the bottom of the second inning as Whaley singled with one out and after a fly ball out to right field, Cervantes drew a base on balls.
Sisk followed with a single to right field to load the sacks before Gauge Anderson worked a 3-2 RBI walk to send Whaley to the plate with the first run.
Ford escaped any further damage when he fielded a ground ball back to the box and threw to Colton Barber at first base for the third out.
The Tigers failed to score with bases loaded and two outs in the top of the third inning and left one on in the next two frames.
Forrest came up with an all-important insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Blaize Sweeney and Whaley drew back-to-back, two-out walks before Spence Oliver delivered a two-strike, line drive single to left field to score John Randall Dippold, who had come in to run for Sweeney.
“That ended up being a huge run for us to get that second run across the plate,” Joyce said. “He (Oliver) got a fastball and connected with it and put a good swing on it and I knew that was a huge run for us because I knew they were going to be hanging around until the end.”
The Tigers mounted a comeback in the top of the sixth inning as Ryan Kirby worked a 3-2 base on balls and Barber followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Kirby to second base.
Mealer whiffed the next batter before Joyce went to the bullpen and brought in Sisk, who was rudely greeted via an RBI single by Shelton to make it 2-1.
A Forrest error extended the inning, but Sisk escaped and the Tigers did not score again in the contest.
“In district play you want to get them all of course, but 1-1 we are pleased with that and we just have to get better,” Joyce said. “We have three big games Friday and Saturday, so we have a lot to work on to get better.”
Marshall County (2-5, 1-1) makes its yearly trek to the Smokey Mountain Invitational at Seymour where they played Clarksville Northeast (3-5) last night and Westmoreland (5-3) today.
Forrest (3-4, 1-1) hosts the Single A Classic this weekend, beginning with a game versus Jackson Christian (5-4-1) tonight and two more on Saturday at Chapel Hill against Trousdale County (4-5) and Loretto (10-1).
Monday, March 25
Forrest 000 000 0-0 4 5
Marshall County 027 000 X-9 4 0
Forrest: Brett Burnham 1-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-2, Cody Sisk 1-for-3.
BB: Ethan Mealer, Whaley, Cannon Cervantes.
FC: Spence Oliver 2, Gauge Anderson.
CS: Devon Aydelot.
Team LOB: 6
E: Whaley, Sweeney, Mealer, Sisk, Anderson.
LP: Grayson Whaley (2IP, 3H, 8R, 3ER, 3K, 5BB), Cannon Cervantes (4IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 1K, 2BB).
Marshall County: Peyton Graves 1-for-3, Preston Shelton 1-for-3, Hunter Haurez 1-for-3, JW Beasley 1-for-3.
BB: Walker Whaley 2, Peyton Graves, Shelton, Zack Graves, Thomas Beardsley, Ryan Kirby.
RS: Kirby 2, Beasley 2, Peyton Graves, Zack Graves, Colton Barber, Beardsley, Caleb Grooms.
RBI: Beasley 2, Walker Whaley, Kirby, Haurez, Graves, Shelton.
SAC: Walker Whaley.
ROE: Peyton Graves, Beardsley, Beasley, Barber.
FC: Kirby, Zack Graves.
Team LOB: 6
WP: Hunter Huarez (7IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 8K, 3BB).
Tuesday, March 26
At Chapel Hill
Marshall County 000 001 0-1 6 1
Forrest 010 010 X-2 7 2
Marshall County: Preston Shelton 1-for-4, Peyton Graves 1-for-4, Zack Graves 1-for-3, Colton Barber 1-for-3, Thomas Beardsley 1-for-3, Tristan Griggs 1-for-2.
BB: Ryan Kirby 2, Mitchell Ford, Zack Graves, Beardsley, Griggs.
RBI: Preston Shelton.
SAC: J. W. Beasley, Barber.
ROE: Peyton Graves 2.
FC: Ryan Kirby 2, Zack Graves.
Team LOB: 13
E: Zack Graves.
LP: Mitchell Ford (4.2IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 4K, 4BB), Zack Graves (1.1IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0BB).
Forrest: Cody Sisk 2-for-3, Gauge Anderson 2-for-2, Ethan Mealer 1-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-2, Spence Oliver 1-for-3.
BB: Blaize Sweeney, Whaley, Cannon Cervantes, Anderson.
RS: Whaley, John Randall Dippold.
RBI: Oliver, Anderson.
Team LOB: 8
E: Brett Burnham 2.
WP: Ethan Mealer (5.2IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 6K, 4BB).
Save: Cody Sisk (1.1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 2BB).