Game Summaries & Headlines.
Opening Day has come and gone, and the home opener went significantly better than the road opener did. The GREEN opened their season at Osbourn Park on Thursday night and were routed by the Yellow Jackets 11-1 in a shortened five inning affair.
There was no time to dwell on the loss as Forge bench boss David Colangelo shuffled his line-up 24 hours later, and it proved to be the difference. The first year Eagle coach was disappointed with the road loss, but more so by the effort of his team. “We wanted to mix it up, two games with OP are non-district so we saw what we had”. Colangelo said post game. “We told the guys, who’s hot is going to play and who plays hard is going to be in the lineup”.
Forge Baseball has always been proud of its’ tradition and recently that tradition has been questioned and challenged. Colangelo was brought in here to continue the tradition and more importantly enhance it. He has been given the keys to the car and you’re either in the car with him, or you may be run over.
It was the 1st ever appearance by Junior A.J. Zeak on the hill for the “good guys”. The big right handed transfer with the smile as big as the park did not disappoint. Zeak pitched 4.2 thirds innings (86 pitches) gave up 2 runs (1 earned), struck out 4 and walked 4. “The wind was a factor for me early”, said Zeak “Later on I settled in and got command of my fastball”. Matt Hickey came on in relief, pitching 2.1 thirds, striking out 4 while only walking 1.
The Jackets wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in this one as leadoff man Josh Brown drew a walk and stole second, and third and scored on an error by Forge catcher Jake Wortman to give the visitors a quick1-0 advantage.
Unlike the night before, the Eagles would respond in the home half of the first. With two outs, Wortman lined a single to center and Keegan Doyle reached on an error by Brown in left field for OP. That miscue allowed Wortman to score the Eagles first run tying the game at 1-1.
The Jackets took the lead back in the second when Cameron Mozingo Morales reached on an error, Liam Gannon reached on an error but Mozingo Morales was thrown out by the left arm of Eagle first baseman Keegan Doyle for the first out. With two out, Justice Beavis hit a line drive that handcuffed Forge leftfielder Tim Chamernik, scoring Gannon to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
The Forge would go quietly in their half of the 2nd but Zeak kept the Jackets in check in the top of the third setting them down on 3 ground ball outs.
In the bottom of the third the Eagles took control of the game for good. Sam Benson drew a leadoff walk, and advanced to second on a Wortman single. After an out, Nate Zimmerman hit a line drive single up the middle to load the bases with only one out. After another out, Aiden Henderson drew a walk, scoring Benson to tie the game and move all the Eagles up 90 feet. Preston Long followed and hit a ground ball to third that was booted by Tyler Hericks and Wortman came to the dish and Zimmerman and Henderson were at 2nd and 3rd with two outs. Robert Moffett singled to score Zimmerman and give the GREEN a 4-2 lead heading to the top of the 4th.
The fourth inning was probably Zeak’s most dominating frame. Again the junior put the Jackets down 1-2-3 getting Mario Duarte to fly out to right and striking out Mozingo Morales swinging and Liam Gannon looking to send the Jackets down.
In the 5th, the Jackets threatened by did not score. Henricks struck out swinging and Beavis flew out to center. Jed Barrett walked to put runners on 1st and second and Zeak started to show signs of the tank running low. When he hit Shane Saunders with a pitch, the bullpen phone rang and it was time for Matt Hickey out of the pen. The Forge got out of the jam when Hickey got a ground ball to short to end the threat.
The home half of the 5th the Jackets turned to left handed reliever Amiel Pasacsec and they rocked him for a couple of run to take a 6-2 lead. Zimmerman led off with a reaching excuse me single to right, and Aiden Tierney followed with a line drive single to center. Zimmerman would score on an error and Preston Long drove Tierney around for the Eagles sixth run of the game.
The 6th inning was the Matt Hickey showcase. He fanned Duarte swinging, got Mozingo Morales looking and after walking Gannon told Henricks to “grab some pine” striking him out looking on just four pitches.
“He’s a great kid, love his personality” said Colangelo about Hickey. “He goes hard and is excited every time he goes in and he wants the ball, and that’s all you can ask for”.
The Eagles next at bat, the top came off of the can as Chamernik hit a line drive home run over the fence in left field to extend the Forge lead to 7-2. After Pasacsec walked Benson, the Jackets gave the ball to Mozingo Morales who was having GPS issues as he struggled to find the plate. He walked Wortman, Doyle and Zimmerman which scored Benson for the 8-2 lead. Tierney took one for the team catching a Mozingo Morales pitch in the head, scoring Wortman with the Forge 9th run of the contest. Aiden Henderson singled to right as Doyle scored followed by Preston Long grounding out for the first out of the inning. Moffett gave the Forge an 11-2 lead when he singled in the hole at short and that is all the offense the Eagles needed on this night.
In the seventh the Eagles got two quick outs, but then surrendered two quick errors to putting runners on first and second. Hickey would have no more of this threat striking out Shulman looking to end the game and give the Eagles their first win and the first victory in the coaching career of David Colangelo at the helm.
After a rough night up in Manassas the team showed what a difference a day makes. “We wanted to get revenge on these guys and show them we can play Forge Baseball” said Zeak postgame.
The Eagles will stay at home to start the district portion of their schedule as they entertain the Riverbend Bears on Tuesday night. First pitch for that contest is set for 6pm. The pieces are in place, the message has been sent and now it’s a case of how bad do you want it?