Forest City 11/12s earn state berth
Forest City’s CJ Hannon went 2-2 with two home runs and five RBIs to pace his team to an 18-8 five-inning mercy rule win over Rutherfordton in 11-12 baseball action Thursday.
With the win Forest City becomes the second team from District 1 to qualify for the state tournament and they will be joining Chase at Dunbar Park Saturday.
After Rutherfordton loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first, Forest City pitcher Garrett Byers settled down and struck out the next two batters to keep Rutherfordton off the board.
The Forest City offense backed Byers in the bottom half.
Colby Bradshaw and Haden Joyce walked before Jacob Champion collected a RBI single. Hannon stepped to the plate and took the first pitch he saw deep over the centerfield fence for three-run homer that gave Forest City a 4-0 lead
Rutherfordton cut that lead in half in their next at bat. Caitlyn Dailey led off with a sharp single to right. Houston Howell walled and Dailey scored on a hit by Mitchell Martin. Howell then came home on a single by Trevlyn Riggs to make the tally 4-2.
Both teams were held off the scoreboard until the bottom of the third. Forest City exploded for six runs in the frame.
The outburst was highlighted by Hannon’s second homer of the day, a two run shot that gave the home team a 6-2 lead. After Ethan Travis reached, the next four batters recorded RBI hits to give Forest City a 10-2. lead.
Hannon was injured in the top of the fourth and Forest City seemed to fall apart. With a new catcher in the game Rutherfordton scored on errors and passed balls and walks. By the time the dust settled Rutherfordton sent 12 batters to the plate and cut the deficit to 10-8.
Forest City also batted around in the bottom half. Everyone in the lineup reached base safely in the inning, but Ethan Taylor, Bennett Ruff and Colby Bradshaw came up with multi-RBI hits as they doubled up Rutherfordton 16-8.
Champion came to the mound and held Rutherfordton of the board in the next inning, while Dustin Blanton drove in the final two runs with an RBI double to account for the 18-8 final. Dailey led Rutherfordton at the plate going 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored.
The state tournament will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday with Forest City playing the District 3 winner. Chase receives a bye and will take the field Sunday at 2 p.m.