Mealer dominates in one-hit gem over Vikings

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Forrest’s Ethan Mealer tossed a complete game, one-hit shutout over Community Monday night and struck out a career high 14 batters in the 9-0 win over the Vikings at Chapel Hill.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest ace Ethan Mealer was on his game Monday night at Chapel Hill as the big righty turned in a dominating performance, tossing a complete game one-hitter and striking out a career high 14 to claim a 9-0 District 12-AA win over Community.

“They played Central Magnet in a close game, so I knew I had to keep the ball over the plate, keep it low, and it just happened to fall right for me tonight,” Mealer said. “We have come a long way since we started, so we have to play as a team if we want to do anything.”

Mealer improved to 3-0 on the season and won his 18th game as a Rocket, passing current pitching coach Andy Burkett to move into third place all-time behind Andy Blackwell (24), Logan Hollingsworth (24), and Mike Minor (38).

“I was lucky enough to take third place over Burkett, my coach, who has helped me a lot throughout these years,” Mealer said. “All these wins have been for my team.”

The Columbia State Community College signee allowed just three baserunners in the contest, hitting a Viking batter in the second inning, giving up a two-out single to Will Reed in the third, and issuing a leadoff walk to Aedyn Hall in the sixth inning.

“Mealer threw the ball great tonight,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “His command was good, he was on the plate all night all long, and his confidence on the mound was great.”

“I’m very happy for him, he works hard at it and I’m happy with his performance on the mound and at the plate too.”

Mealer also had a solid night at the dish, going 2-for-2 with two bases on balls and an RBI.

The Rockets (7-4, 2-1) won their fifth game in a row after starting the season 2-4 and travelled to Unionville Tuesday to complete the home and away league series with the Vikings.

Community starter Jackson Bailey held the Rockets scoreless in the first inning, but the hot-swinging Chapel Hill crew gave Mealer all the runs he needed via a three-run second inning.

Cannon Cervantes, batting .368 on the season, started the frame with a base hit and Grayson Whaley reached on a Community error.

Cody Sisk lays down a perfect bunt for a base hit to get things going in the second inning.

Cody Sisk followed with a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first to load the sacks.

Bailey looked like he might escape as he struck out the next two Forrest batters before the red-hot Max Kirby delivered a two-run single to center field.

Mealer followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0 and then set down the Vikings again in the top of third inning after allowing the only hit on a solid single by Reed to right field with two outs.

Max Kirby delivers a two-out, two run single in the bottom of the second inning to put Forrest up 2-0.

“Getting those three runs early just helped the game go by a lot smoother,” Joyce said. “The guys did great, we got the momentum early with two clutch hits by Kirby and Mealer to get those three runs in.”

Bailey gave up a one-out base on balls to Whaley in the bottom of the inning before escaping on a ground out to Reed at shortstop and a fly out to Ethan Lohn in left.

Mealer set down the Vikings 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth, including back-to-back strikeouts to start the frame.

Forrest left a pair of runners stranded in the home half of the inning and Mealer duplicated his fourth inning feat in the top of the fifth with a two whiffs to begin the inning and the stanza ended on a nice catch on a fly ball by Gauge Anderson in foul territory in right field.

The Rockets failed to score in the bottom of the fifth inning and Mealer gave up a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth before retiring the next three Community batters in order.

Forrest busted the game wide open in the bottom of the inning as they sent 11 batters to the dish and scored six runs on just three hits.

The Rockets were helped out by some wildness on the mound as Community reliever Ethan Greer walked in four runs in a row with Spence Oliver, Cervantes, Whaley, and Sisk all driving in a run via the bases loaded, base on balls route.

Anderson knocked in the final run of the game on an RBI single to right field and the other run scored on a Vikings’ miscue in the field.

Mealer took the hill in the top of the seventh and went to almost straight gas as he overpowered the Vikings, striking out side in order to end the game.

“It was an all-around good job tonight by the guys,” Joyce said. “We are playing well at home, but we have to back it up.”

“We have to go over to Community tomorrow, which is going to be a totally different ballgame, the second day of district baseball is always a grind, it’s going to be tight, competitive baseball and I wouldn’t expect nothing less, so we just have to play our game and come out with a win over there.”

The Rockets had nine hits in the contest as Mealer and Anderson had two hits apiece while Burnham, Kirby, Oliver, Cervantes, and Sisk all had one base knock.

Community 000 000 0-0 1 1

Forrest 030 006 X-9 9 0

Community: Will Reed 1-for-3.

BB: Aedyn Hall.

HBP: Brennan Sanders

Team LOB: 3

Fielding

E: Hall.

LP: Jackson Bailey (5IP, 8H, 5R, 2ER, 4K, 4BB). Ethan Greer (1IP, 1H, 4R, 4ER, 0K, 5BB).

Forrest: Ethan Mealer 2-for-2, Gauge Anderson 2-for-4, Brett Burnham 1-for-5, Max Kirby 1-for-2, Spence Oliver 1-for-3, Cannon Cervantes 1-for-3, Cody Sisk 1-for-3.

BB: Mealer 2, Grayson Whaley 2, Kirby, Blaize Sweeney, Oliver, Cervantes, Sisk.

RS: Cervantes 2, Burnham, Kirby, Oliver, Whaley, Sisk, Anderson, Ty Hengesbach.

RBI: Kirby 3, Whaley, Mealer, Oliver, Sisk, Anderson, Cervantes.

ROE: Whaley.

FC: Sisk, Burnham, Kirby.

HBP: Kirby.

SB: Hengesbach 2, Kirby.

CS: Kirby.

Totals

Team LOB: 9

WP: Ethan Mealer (7IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 14K, 1BB).

Tuesday, April 2

At Community

Forrest 000 001 0-1 4 2

Community 000 100 1-2 2 1

Forrest: Ethan Mealer 2-for-3, Max Kirby 1-for-3, Blaize Sweeney 1-for-3.

RS: Kirby.

3B: Kirby.

RBI: Mealer.

ROE: Gauge Anderson.

CS: Devon Aydelot.

Totals

Team LOB: 3

Fielding

E: Sweeney, Conner Lewis.

LP: Grayson Whaley (6.2IP, 2H, 2R, 0ER, 7K, 1BB).

Community: Evan Petrie 1-for-3, Ethan Lohn 1-for-3.

BB: Jacob Cooper.

RS: Petrie, Lohn.

2B: Lohn.

ROE: Adam Patterson, Chris Martin.

SB: Petrie.

Team LOB: 2

Fielding

E: Cooper.

WP: Will Reed (7IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 7K, 0BB).