Rockets run-rule Tomcats for quarterfinal victory
The Forrest Rockets (17-14-1), veterans of the big dance faced first-timers Haywood High School on Tuesday in the first round of the Spring Fling XXVI Spring Sports Championships.
The Rockets were as hot as the afternoon temperature as they cruised to a 12-2 victory to move on to the second round versus Loudon (24-9), who shutout Sequatchie County 8-0.
“The team played well and ground it out and they stayed hydrated,” Forrest coach Bart Joyce said. “It was a huge win and we’ll go home and get some rest and come back ready for tomorrow.”
The Rockets drew first blood in the first inning as Cannon Cervantes drew a one-out walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch.
Max Kirby stroked a single to center and Cervantes scooted home to put the Rockets up 1-0.
Blaize Sweeney drew a walk to put two runners on and Devon Aydelot came in as courtesy runner for Sweeney.
Kirby and Aydelot both advanced a base on a passed ball and Bryson Smith singled to left field to bring home both runners to make it 3-0.
Taking the hill for Forrest was freshman Kain Moses, who pitched in relief Friday night against Sycamore.
“It was hot out there,” he said, “I thought I was going to have to come out in the second inning but fought through it. I had my fastball and curve working.”
Catcher Blaize Sweeney agreed, “You get used to it (the heat), but my pitchers took it easy on me today.”
The Tomcats got a two-out single by JT Lea, but Moses struck out Ja’darius Hines to end the inning.
Gauge Anderson stroked a one-out single in the top of the second inning, but was erased when the Tomcats then turned a 6-4-3 double play.
Haywood put two runners on via a base hit by Marquis Mays and a walk by Hutch Voss in the bottom of the second with two outs.
Moses got out of trouble when Reed Russell hit a come-backer to the mound and at the end of second inning Forrest was still up 3-0.
In the top of the third inning the Rockets’ bats heated up as Cervantes drew a walk and Kirby laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second.
Cervantes advance to third on a passed ball and Sweeney was hit by a pitch and Aydelot pinch ran for him.
Spence Oliver followed with a hard grounder that Tomcat shortstop Reed Russell misplayed for an error to score Cervantes, making it 4-0.
Bryson Smith singled to left field to load the bases and Ty Hengesbach drew a walk to force in a run.
Cody Sisk stroked a ground ball to Tomcat second baseman Brent Haywood to force Oliver at home for the second out before Anderson slapped a single to right and Smith and Hengesbach both scored to put the Rockets up 7-0.
Moses sailed on in the heat in the bottom of the third with the help of a nifty play by Kirby when Andrew Reed lifted a fly ball to right center that fell between three Rockets and Kirby alertly grabbed it and threw to Moses covering second to nail Reed trying to stretch it into a double.
Moses then struck out Lea for the third out to end the third inning.
Lea pitched the first three innings and was relieved in the top of the fourth by Charles Phillips, who gave up a single to Kirby, but the Rockets could not move him along.
The bottom of the fourth saw the Tomcats get on the board as Bond Lonon and Brent stroked back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second.
Lonon stole third base and rode home on a single by Phillips before Moses was relieved on the mound by Cody Sisk.
Russell singled to center off Sisk and Haywood raced home for the Tomcats second run.
Sisk got out of the inning by getting Andrew Stanley to ground to third where Smith gobbled it up and threw to first for the third out.
The top of the fifth saw the Rockets build on their lead as Hengesbach coaxed a walk, Sisk singled, and Anderson was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Burnham singled to score Hengesbach and Sisk to make it 9-2 with Anderson advancing to third and Burnham to second on the throw home.
Cervantes then doubled both home and the lead grew to 11-2.
Kirby flied out for the second out and on a dropped third strike by the Tomcats catcher, Sweeney beat the throw to first with Cervantes moving to third.
On a double steal, Cervantes stole home and Aydelot again running for Sweeney, was caught in a run down for the third out.
The Rockets now led 12-2, needing only three outs to secure the victory with the 10-run mercy rule.
In the bottom of the fifth, Cervantes came in to pitch and after giving up two hits, he got Lonon on a fly ball to right and the Rockets celebrated with the win.
“I was a nervous wreck at first, you just push through it to try to get the win,” Cervantes said.
Forrest 304 05X X-12 9 0
Haywood 000 20X X-2 9 1
Forrest: Max Kirby 2-for-3, Bryson Smith 2-for 3, Gauge Andersen 2-for-2.Brett Burnham 1-for-4, Canon Cervantes 1-for-2, Cody Sisk 1 for 3.
BB: Hengesbach 2, Cervantes 2, Sweeney.
RS: Cervantes 3, Burnham, Sisk, Oliver, Aydelot 2, Andersen, Smith, Hengesbach 2.
RBI: Anderson 2, Cervantes 2, Barnham 2, Smith 2, Oliver, Hengesbach, Kirby.
HBP: Sweeney, Anderson.
SB: Anderson, Cervantes.
Team LOB: 4
WP: Kain Moses (3.2IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 6K, 1 BB).
Relief: Cody Sisk (.1IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0 BB.
Cervantes (1IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0 BB).
Haywood: JT Lea 2-for-3, Andrew Reed 1-for-3, Ja’darius Hines 1-for-3, Bond Lonon 1-for-3, Brent Haywood 1-for 3, Marquis Mays 1-for-2, Charles Phillips 1-for-1, Reed Russell 1-for-2.
BB: Hutch Voss.
RS: Lonon, Haywood.
RBI: Phillips, Russell.
RBI: Phillips, Russell
SB: Bond Lonon
Team LOB: 7
LP: JT Lea.