FC overcomes five-run deficit, but Forest gets late score to win playoff series
In a rare Sunday afternoon high school baseball contest — necessitated by inclement weather on Saturday, April 29 — Franklin County battled back from an early five-run deficit against the Forest Bearcats to knot the game at 5-all by the end of the sixth inning.
However, a run in the top of the seventh for the visiting team meant the difference as Forest knocked off the Diamond Dawgs, 6-5, and bumped FC from the Class 3A post-season in taking back-to-back decisions in the best-two-of-three series.
The loss finished Franklin County’s season with an 18-8 mark.
Forest scored a run in both the first and second innings and three more in the fourth to hold a decisive 5-0 lead, but the Bulldogs charged back with a pair of runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
Both teams combined for seven hits each with Forest committing one error and FC recording a pair of errors.
Another statistic that stood out was the Bearcats collected three double plays against FC batters while the Bulldogs turned two double plays — one in the top of the sixth involving shortstop Donovan Moore and first baseman Noah McCormick and the other between pitcher Carter Spring and Moore in the top of the seventh.
In the early going for Franklin County, Moore drew a walk in the bottom of the first; and Dakota Chisholm reached on an error while Jamari Tolliver earned a walk in the second.
Moore had a double in the third as teammate Dalton Meadows also walked in the frame, and Chisholm singled in the bottom of the fourth.
With no run production to show, FC’s offense began to turn things around in the bottom of the fifth as Peyton Hebert led off with a walk and Moore followed with a two-run homer to cut Forest’s lead to three, 5-2, before the side was retired.
In the bottom of the sixth, McCormick slammed a double and Ridge Clanton came into the line-up to stroke a single, which was enough to plate McCormick.
Terrance Fields blasted a triple that brought Clanton’s courtesy runner — Dawson Halford — home, and Tolliver singled to bring Fields in to tie the game at 5-all.
In going down to the wire, Forest was able to claim the game winner as Ty Chambers singled and was standing at third with bases loaded and two outs when FC pitching hit batter Kolton Durkes, which pushed across the final run of the contest.
Moore was the lone Franklin County batter with multiple hits — going 2-of-2 with a double and a home run while walking twice.
He scored one run and accounted for two RBI.
Clanton was 1-of-1 at the plate, with a single and RBI for the Bulldogs.
Chisholm and Tolliver were both 1-of-2 against Forest pitching with the former stroking a single and reaching on an error and the latter clubbing a triple while collecting a walk and hitting into a double play.
McCormick and Fields finished 1-of-3 with one run scored apiece.
McCormick doubled, was hit by a pitch, grounded out and struck out as Fields tripled, flied out and struck out.
Fields also collected an RBI for the Bulldogs.
Hebert was 0-of-1 with a walk, a sacrifice, a fly out and scored a run, and Spring also went 0-of-1 with a strike out.
Meadows was 0-of-2 with a pair of walks, a fly out and a strike out.
Rancifer and Pernell both went 0-of-4 in the contest as the tandem both hit separately into a double play.
Rancifer flied out three times and Pernell flied out twice and lined out once.
In the pitching department, Meadows worked six innings and surrendered five runs on four hits while striking out nine and walking two.
Spring came in to work the seventh inning and threw 23 pitches with a run allowed on two hits with a walk issued.
FC, which was the No. 1-seeded team from District 7 with a 10-0 record against regional baseball programs, committed two errors in the game and Forest, the No. 4-seeded team from District 5, had one miscue.
Forest advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs to take on the Region 8 No. 3-seeded Seminary Bulldogs.
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