Burnham walk off lifts Rockets to sweep over Tigers

Friday, April 12, 2019
Brett Burnham drills the game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting the Rockets to a sweep over Murfreesboro Central Magnet School.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After a big 8-3 win by Forrest at Murfreesboro Central Magnet on Tuesday, the two ball clubs met back up at Chapel Hill on Wednesday and the contest was much closer with the Rockets coming away with a tight 2-1 win in eight innings.

Senior Brett Burnham came through in the clutch for the Rockets, banging a bases loaded single with no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure the win and the sweep over the Tigers.

Forrest had just three hits in the game with Burnham, Max Kirby, and Grayson Whaley all picking up one base knock apiece.

“That was clutch, absolutely clutch by Burnham,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “He hit a ball solid up the middle for game winning fashion there, so an excellent job by a great senior who came through for us in a big moment.”

Forrest senior Grayson Whaley, pitching with a heavy heart due to the loss of his grandmother, turned in another stellar performance on the mound for the Rockets, who beat Murfreesboro Central Magnet 2-1 in eight innings Wednesday at Chapel Hill.

Whaley started on the mound for the Rockets and turned in another stellar performance, tossing 6.1 innings before Cannon Cervantes came on in the top of the sixth with one out and the game tied at 1-1.

“Whaley was throwing lights out, he is a great senior, works hard, and has been clutch for us in theses district games and it was no different tonight,” Joyce said. “He had some tough spots and got out of them and put us in a position to win this ballgame, so that was really huge.”

Whaley gave up seven hits and one earned run while striking out seven and walking two.

Cervantes picked up the win as he blanked the Tigers with no hits and no runs while striking out one and walking one.

“Cervantes has done a great job coming in in tights spots for us and making pitches for us and keeping the ball low where we could make plays for him,” Joyce said. “He had a couple of big strikeouts there too, so it was just a great job coming in for us tonight.”

Brady Sengkounmany was the tough-luck loser for the Tigers as he went the distance in the contest, giving up one earned run while striking out four and walking three Forrest batters.

Both starting hurlers gave up a base hit in the first inning, but no runs crossed the plate.

Central Magnet rallied with two outs in the top of the second as Dalton Jenkins drew a base on balls and Hayden Petty came in to run for the Tigers’ catcher.

Michael Polly and Dawson Massengale followed with back-to-back singles to make it 1-0 before Burnham came up with a nice scoop at short on a ball up the middle and stepped on the second base bag for the third out.

Sengkounmany set down the Rockets in order in the second and third innings and Whaley got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the third on a comebacker to the mound.

Burnham struck again on defense when he grabbed a hot shot off the bat of Tiger leadoff hitter Pablo Hendrixson and turned an inning ending double play in the top of the fourth inning.

Ethan Mealer walked and stole second base to set up the tying run in the bottom of the third inning.

Ethan Mealer walked with one down in the home half of the inning and stole second base before Whaley stroked a single to center field, putting Rockets on the corners.

Blaize Sweeney came up huge for Chapel Hill when he laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to drive in Mealer with the tying run.

Sengkounmany whiffed the next Forrest hitter for the third out and both hurlers remained in the game and did not allow any more runs through the sixth inning.

Blaize Sweeney executes a perfect squeeze bunt in the bottom of the third inning, tying the game at 1-1.

Forrest first baseman Connor Lewis made a great scoop on a low throw for the first out in the top of the seventh before a Forrest miscue allowed Massengale to reach first base.

Matthew McDaniel beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second and Cervantes came to the hill for the Rockets.

A passed ball moved both runners up and a pop-up to Burnham at short kept them there.

The Rockets issued an intentional walk to CJ Campbell to load the bases before Cervantes reared back for an inning ending strikeout.

The Rockets went down in order in the bottom of the inning on three straight fly balls to the outfield and in the top of the eighth, Cervantes set down the Tigers 1-2-3.

John Randall Dippold got things going for the Rockets in the home half of the inning when he drew a leadoff walk and Cody Sisk followed with a ground ball to Patrick Norman at third base.

Norman scooped up the ball, but threw wildly to first and the Rockets were in business with runners on second and third base with no outs.

Gauge Anderson was intentionally walked to the load the sacks, setting the stage for Burnham, who drilled a 1-2 pitch up the middle for the walk off base hit.

“I was just trying to do my job and hit one backside and get that run in, I don’t even know, it was crazy,” Burnham said. “It was huge for us, that puts us in second place in the district and Nolensville is next.”

The Rockets (10-6, 4-2) are firmly in second place in the District 12-AA standings, two games back of first place Nolensville (11-8, 6-0).

“These district game, you can bank on it that every game is going to be a fight and I wouldn’t expect anything less from those guys over there,” Joyce said. “It was a great hard fought ball game and I’m proud of the way our guys fought tonight and never got down, even down 1-0 most of the ballgame and came back and tied the ballgame up when Sweeney came up with that clutch bunt to tie the game and then Burnham coming through there in the last inning.”

Murfreesboro Central Magnet (12-8, 3-3) is in third place, Giles County (5-9, 2-4) and Marshall County (6-9, 2-4) are tied for fourth, and Community brings up the rear (7-10, 1-5).

“These district series you have to take one game at a time and that’s what we do,” Joyce said. “We break it down and take it an inning at a time and go from there because every week they are going to be tough ballgames.”

“Our district is so tough and I’m just proud these guys are getting better and better every week and we just have to be there at the end to put ourselves in good position for tournament time.”

MCM 010 000 00-1 7 1

Forrest 000 100 01-2 3 1

MCM: Matthew McDaniel 2-for-4, Dawson Massengale 2-for-3, Patrick Norman 1-for-4, Gage Swanson 1-for-4, Michael Polly 1-for-3.

BB: CJ Campbell 2, Dalton Jenkins.

RS: Hayden Petty.

RBI: Massengale.

ROE: Pablo Hendrixson

FC: Hendrixson.

HBP: Polly.

GIDP: Hendrixson.

SB: Patrick Norman.

Totals

Team LOB: 10

Fielding

E: Norman.

LP: Brady Sengkounmany.

Forrest: Brett Burnham 1-for-4, Max Kirby 1-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-3.

BB: Burnham, Kirby, Cannon Cervantes, Spence Oliver.

RS: Ethan Mealer, John Randall Dippold.

2B: Kirby.

RBI: Blaize Sweeney, Burnham.

SAC Sweeney.

ROE: Cody Sisk.

SB: Mealer

Totals

Team LOB: 2

Fielding

E: Mealer.

DP Burnham.

WP: Cannon Cervantes (1.2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 1BB).

Starter: Grayson Whaley (6.1IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, 7K, 2BB).

Tuesday, April 9

At Murfreesboro

Forrest 143 000 0-8 11 2

MCM 002 100 0-3 5 0

Forrest: Max Kirby 3-for-5, Ethan Mealer 2-for-3, Gauge Anderson 2-for-3, Grayson Whaley 1-for-3, Cannon Cervantes 1-for-4, Bryson Smith 1-for-4, John Randall Dippold 1-for-4.

BB: Brett Burnham 2, Blaize Sweeney 2, Anderson.

RS: Kirby 2, Anderson 2, Burnham, Smith, Dippold, Devon Aydelot.

RBI: Whaley 2, Mealer 2, Burnham, Kirby.

SF: Whaley, Mealer.

HBP: Burnham

SB: Ty Hengesbach.

Totals

Team LOB: 9

Fielding

E: Whaley, Mealer.

DP: Cody Sisk.

WP: Ethan Mealer (3IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 6K, 5BB).

Relief: Cody Sisk (4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2K, 0BB).

Central Magnet: Gage Swanson 2-for-4, Pablo Hendrixson 1-for-3, Patrick Norman 1-for-4, Dawson Massengale 1-for-3.

BB: Matthew McDaniel, CJ Campbell, Hendrixson, Steph Laird.

RS: Hendrixson, Laird, Massengale.

2B: Hendrixson, Norman, Swanson.

RBI: Swanson 2, Hendrixson.

ROE: Campbell, Massengale.

FC: Michael Polly.

HBP: Campbell.

CS: Hayden Petty.

Totals

Team LOB: 8

LP: Patrick Norman.