FC, Bearcats spit first two games of 3A playoff series

by Sean Dunlap

For those who love the clink of the bats in high school baseball, the playoff stand between Franklin County and Forest met those expectations.

The two programs, over the course of two games last week, combined for 39 hits along with 45 runs in splitting their series.

FC won at home on Tuesday, April 25 by a 14-10 margin, and Forest rolled to a 13-8 victory on Friday, April 28.

The teams played a deciding game Sunday to determine which squad would advance to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs after rain on Saturday forced the postponement of that contest.

Here is a summary of last week’s contests:


Despite outhitting Forest, 12-8, in Friday’s second game of the best-of-three series, Franklin County came up on the short end of a 13-8 decision to the Bearcats.

Prior to the fourth inning, FC collected 10 hits — six singles, two doubles, a triple and a home run, and, from that point forward, the Dawgs mustered just two singles.
FC took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as lead-off batter Donovan Moore reached after being hit by a pitch and Dalton Meadows followed with a one-out home run.

The Bearcats tied things up with two runs in the bottom of the frame.

To start the second, FC’s Jamari Tolliver singled and scored on a follow-up triple by Terrance Fields for a 3-2 Dawgs’ lead.

Fields was tagged out en route to third for his team’s first out in the frame.

From there, Peyton Hebert reached on an error, but would ultimately be picked off at second and Moore singled to set up some two-out heroics for his teammates.

Larry Pernell singled, which plated Moore, and Meadows doubled to bring home Pernell for a 5-2 FC advantage.

Quez Rancifer and Noah McCormick added back-to-back singles with McCormick’s shot bringing in Meadows before the side was retired.

Forest answered with four runs in the bottom of the second to knot things up at 6-all.

FC retook the lead in the top of the third as Tolliver collected a single and came home after Hebert reached on a one-out error.

Down the stretch, the Bearcats charged back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and four more in the sixth while the Bulldogs scored only one more run in the top of the fifth.

That Bulldogs’ run came when Carter Spring was issued a one-out walk and his courtesy runner, Dawson Halford, scored on a Forest passed ball.

Offensively, FC was paced by Meadows, who went 3-of-4 with a single, a double and a homer while grounding out once with two runs scored and a team-high three RBI.

Tolliver was 2-of-3 with a pair of singles, was hit by a pitch and struck out once. He wound up scoring twice.

Both Rancifer and McCormick were 2-of-4 with the former credited with two singles and two strike outs while the latter stroked a single and a double with a strike out and a ground out.

McCormick was also credited with an RBI.

Moore was 1-of-3 with a single, a strike out and a ground out. He was also hit by a pitch and scored twice.

Pernell and Fields were both 1-of-4 with Pernell collecting a single with three strike outs and one run as Fields dinged a triple, struck out twice and hit into a fielder’s choice.

Hebert, in going 0-of-2, reached twice on errors and Springs was 0-of-1 with a walk and a fly out.

A defensive highlight for FC was a double play turned by McCormick and Moore in the bottom of the second.

On the mound for Franklin County, Tolliver hurled for three-and-a-third innings and threw a total of 79 pitches during his tenure.

He was tagged for nine runs (six earned) on six hits while striking out two and walking four.

Fields worked two-and-a-third innings and tossed 51 pitches. He gave up four runs (all earned) on two hits while walking four.

Also in the game, both teams committed two errors each with FC leaving seven runners stranded and Forest seeing nine of its runners left on the bags.

FC 14, FOREST 10

Things were close in the early going of Tuesday’s initial game of the Class 3A baseball playoffs before the Bulldogs exploded for seven of their 14 hits in the game and accounted for 11 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The two teams combined for 19 runs — 13 of those credited to FC — with the Dawgs committing five errors and the Bearcats having two miscues.

FC got on the scoreboard as Moore was hit by a pitch and scored on a follow-up single by Rancifer in the bottom of the first.

Fields doubled in the latter half of the second and scored on a passed ball to put the Dawgs out to a 2-0 lead.

Forest scored three runs in the top of the third to take the lead, but Franklin County was able to tie things up in the bottom of the frame after Pernell doubled and stole home to make it a 3-3 contest.

The Bearcats built a 7-3 lead with another run in the top of the fourth and three more in the fifth before FC rallied with 15 batters coming to the plate prior to the start of the sixth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Spring led off with a single, but would be tagged out as Moore hit into a fielder’s choice.

A one-out double by Pernell scored Moore before Meadows grounded out for the Bulldogs.

From there and facing two outs, Rancifer reached on an error that also allowed Pernell to come home for FC to pull within two runs of Forest’s 7-5 lead.

McCormick then singled to plate Rancifer and Chisholm came on to stroke another single.

Tolliver was issued a walk to load the bags, and another walk to Fields gave McCormick the green light to score and tie the contest at 7-all.

Spring connected on a double that brought both Chisholm and Tolliver in, and Moore pounded a home run that pushed in Halford (Field’s courtesy runner), Spring and himself for a 12-7 advantage.

Pernell was hit by a pitch and Meadows singled before Rancifer connected on a double, which allowed Pernell and Meadows to score FC’s 13th and 14th runs.

The Bearcats added two runs in the top of the sixth and one in the seventh, but could not overcome FC’s bottom-of-the-fifth scoring spurt.

Pernell was 2-of-3 with a pair of doubles, was hit by a pitch and flied out along with scoring three runs and earning an RBI.

Fields and Rancifer were also 2-of-3 with the former connecting on a single and a double with a walk and a fly out, and scoring one run and adding an RBI.

The latter also recorded a single and double, a walk, reached on an error and accounted for a run and three RBI.

Spring was 2-of-2 with a single and a double along with a sacrifice, one run scored and two RBI.

Chisholm finished 2-of-4 with a pair of singles, a strike out and a fly out. He scored one run.

Moore and Meadows were 1-of-4 each in plate appearances. Moore had a home run, was hit by a pitch, struck out once, hit into a fielder’s choice and flied out. He scored three runs and had as many RBI.

Meadows collected a single, reached on an error, flied out and ground out. He came home once.

McCormick wound up 1-of-3 with a single, was hit by a pitch, flied out and hit into a double play. He scored one run and had an RBI.

Tolliver, despite going 0-of-2, walked twice, lined out, grounded out and scored one run.

Hebert, 0-for-0, walked once.

Three pitchers worked the mound for the Bulldogs with Meadows, who was credited with the win, spending four innings on the hill.

In throwing 71 pitches, he was tagged for four runs (none earned) on two hits while striking out five and walking one.

Spring, in two innings, threw 49 pitches and gave up five runs (two earned) on two hits with a lone strike out.

In one inning, Fields hurled 13 pitches and surrendered one run (which was earned) on two hits. He also struck out one.

Forest saw 10 baserunners stranded in Tuesday’s game while FC left five on the bags.