Rockets do it again!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Ethan Mealer solidified his spot as one of the best pitchers in Forrest history with back-to-back wins in the Region 5-A Tournament semifinals the last two seasons at Creek Wood, giving up zero earned runs and just five hits, while striking out 20 in the two elimination games.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

For the second season in a row, the Forrest Rockets made the long trek to Creek Wood and beat the Red Hawks in the Region 6-AA semifinals to advance to the title game Wednesday night at Nolensville with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.

“Creek Wood is a very nice ballpark and it’s always fun to be playing in that elimination baseball,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “It was a great atmosphere last night and our team came out firing on all cylinders.”

Nolensville, who beat Lewis County 8-0 in the other semifinal, has won all four games played against Forrest this season with the last victory coming in the District 12-AA Tournament title game last week.

“Back to Nolensville on Wednesday against a very good ball team, we are just going to go play our game against a team that we are familiar with,” Joyce said. “No doubt this team will be ready to play on Wednesday.”

Senior ace righty and Columbia State Community College signee Ethan Mealer owns the Red Hawks as he continued his dominance over Creekwood with another stellar effort on the mound Monday night.

Mealer picked up the win via a two-hit performance, giving up one run (unearned) while striking out eight and walking three Red Hawk batters.

“Mealer did an excellent job again putting us a great situation to win the ballgame,” Joyce said. “He had good command all night and with the defense we had behind him, it was a great performance by the team to get this win.”

In the same scenario last season, Mealer gave up three hits and whiffed 12 Red Hawks in a 3-0 shutout.

Blaize Sweeney drove in six runs in the first four innings via a three-run dinger, a two-run double, and a fielder’s choice RBI.

Forrest catcher Blaize Sweeney went wild at the dish for the Rockets on Monday, going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, a two-run double and drove in a career-high six runs.

All six of Sweeney’s RBIs came in the first four innings as the Rockets’ offense staked Mealer to an 8-0 lead.

“Sweeney had an absolute great night at the plate,” Joyce said. “He had two huge hits with runners on base that really put the team in a good spot and also made it a lot easier on the pitching and defense, giving the team that lead early in the game.”

The Red Hawks pushed across an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth inning before Mealer helped his own cause with a two-run double in the top of the fifth inning to make it 10-1.

Mealer shut down the Red Hawks the next two innings as they Rockets turned an inning-ending double play in the fifth inning and Mealer set down Creek Wood 1-2-3 in the sixth before freshman Kain Moses came to the mound in relief in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Moses gave up a two-out single before Cody Sisk caught the game-ending fly ball to center field, securing a spot in the region title game and a state sectional game on Friday night.

Forrest 320 320 0-10 10 3

Creekwood 000 100 0-1 3 3

Forrest: Brett Burnham 2-for-5, Ethan Mealer 2-for-4, Blaize Sweeney 2-for-4, Max Kirby 1-for-2, Grayson Whaley 1-for-3, Cannon Cervantes 1-for-4, Cody Sisk 1-for-3.

BB: Kirby 2, Whaley 2, Mealer, Spence Oliver.

RS: Kirby 4, Burnham 2, John Randall Dippold 3, Sweeney.

2B: Sweeney, Mealer.

3B: Kirby.

HR: Sweeney.

RBI: Sweeney 6, Mealer 2, Oliver, Whaley.

SAC: Sisk.

SF: Oliver.

ROE: Mealer 2, Cervantes.

FC: Sweeney.

HBP: Kirby.

CS: Dippold.

Totals

Team LOB: 9

Fielding

E: Oliver, Gauge Anderson, Burnham

DP: Burnham 2, Anderson.

WP: Ethan Mealer (6IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 8K, 3BB).

Relief: Kain Moses (1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0BB).

Creek Wood: Austin Porter 2-for-3, Mitch Duke 1-for-2.

BB: Duke 2, Hunter Plaster.

RS: Chase Klotz.

ROE: Will Secker, Blaine Allen, Sam Batey.

HBP: Klotz, Batey.

GIDP: Will Secker, Peyton Allen.

SB: Klotz.

Totals

Team LOB: 6

Fielding

E: Peyton Allen, Klotz, Plaster.

LP: Will Secker.