Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Forge Eagles Baseball Program is working over Spring Break, and on Monday they dropped a pair of one run affairs to Cosby and Riverbend. Although the day is meaningless in the District standings, they will count against their overall mark which now stands at 3-3.
Game 1 brought an old nemesis to the diamond in the Cosby Titans. The Eagle history with the Titans is not one they are proud of as Cosby has ended the Forge season on two occasions (2015 & 2016) and again, both contests were 1 run affairs.
Aidan Henderson got the ball for the Forge and he pitched well. The junior went six innings surrendering one run on seven hits, walking just one while fanning four. The Titans Andrew Wright was on the hill for Cosby and he was just a little bit better. Wright was all right on the afternoon going seven innings, giving up just one hit and a run while striking out six and walking one.
The first three and a half were pitching dominated as the two teams went scoreless. The Titans broke through in the home half of the fourth as Darin Stanford led off with a high bouncer out in front of home plate for a single. The play saw the left side of the Eagles infield turn into umpires on the play as they all gave up on the ball thinking it was foul. No call was given by the umpires and Stanford stood at first base with a 3 foot single. Wright lined a line drive to left for another hit and when Ethan Ianuzzi was hit by a Henderson offering, the Titans were in business with the sacks loaded with nobody out. Jordan Dickson took a 1-0 pitch from Henderson and drove it for a single driving in Stanford for Cosby’s first run but Wright was gunned down at the dish for the first out. Mason Maurer was standing at the plate with one out and runners on the corner when the Titans ran themselves out of any further damage. The Eagles threw Ianuzzi out at the plate and then nailed Dickson trying to go to second on the play for the inning ending twin killing.
The Eagles responded in the sixth inning when Robert Moffett reached on an error, stole second and reached third base on a wild pitch. Tim Chamernik was then hit by a Wright pitch in the helmet putting runners on the corners for the GREEN. Chamernik was unable to continue, and the Eagles sent out Sam Benson to run at first base. Kennard McNeal was next and with the count 3 and 1, he bunted out in front of the plate that was scooped up by Wright who flipped it to his catcher, nailing Moffett at the plate for the first out. Benson scampered over to an uncovered third base on the play which proved important on the next play. Jake Wortman drove Wright’s first pitch to centerfield for a sacrifice fly, scoring Benson and the Forge tied the game at 1-1.
In the Titan half of the sixth it looked like they had the go ahead formula brewing as Wright singled with two outs, and then Henderson tried to pick off his counterpart at first but threw the ball past first baseman Keegan Doyle for an error. The Eagle pitcher would wild pitch Wright over to third base before he changed his focus to Ianuzzi standing in the box with a bat. Henderson got him to fly out to right field with the go ahead run 90 feet away, and we were still tied going to the seventh.
The Forge went quickly in their half and when the Eagles turned to Matt Hickey on the mount to pitch the seventh. Hickey went to a full count on the Cosby leadoff hitter Dickson but got him watching the payoff pitch go by, bouncing out of the box praying the umpire would see ball four. Hickey then made short work of Ianuzzi, getting him swinging for the second out. When Joel May grounded out to second, the side was retired and we were headed for bonus innings.
The Titans went to their pen and called on right handed side winder Russell Bowles to pitch the eighth. The Forge could only get a single from Moffett in the inning as we went to the home half of the eighth inning tied at 1-1.
This is where Cosby sent the top of their lineup up to the dish and they all seemed to get a read on Hickey. Swisher, Zach Hoekstra, and Ethan Williams all singled to load the bases for the Titans, and when Hickey walked Stanford, that drove Swisher to the plate with the winning run.
The Eagles battled an old nemesis, but they still have not solved the Cosby curse. With a little more familiar foe in the Riverbend Bears next up on the docket.
FORGE BASEBALL: EAGLES FUMBLE VICTORY INTO DEFEAT; 5-4
The Eagles grabbed a loss out of the mouth of victory in game two on the first day of the Riverbend Spring Break Tournament, falling to the Bears 5-4. The Forge won the scrappy game, but lost the mental game in this one and it cost them a win over a district foe.
The things you love about this team is their compete level and their scrappiness to get it done, when it doesn’t look possible. When you love, you also have to accept the youth of the club and realize that things might get a little crazy as they try to get things done. The Eagles were unable to hold leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in the contest and their compete level was tested late. Their mental errors in the late innings in this one was the cause of defeat in this one.
Fenix DiGiacomo was the starting pitcher for the Bears and he was opposed by Sam Benson for the “good guys”. Benson coming off a spot start on Thursday night against the Stafford Indians @ The Ballpark @ The Forge. Benson raised eyebrows in that one as he told Coach David Colangelo pregame, “Coach I want the ball”.
The Eagles wasted no time getting on the NEW SCOREBOARD at Riverbend when Robert Moffett led off the contest with a walk. Kennard McNeal singled him to third and Jake Wortman drove him home for the quick Forge 1-0 lead.
Benson was lights out on the hill for the Eagles and held the Bears in check until his teammates increased their lead in the home half of the fourth. Wortman led off the inning with a double, and after Aiden Tierney flied to center, the catcher was thrown out at third trying to steal for the second out. Nate Zimmerman walked, A.J. Zeak singled and when Jordan Tauriac reached when the Bears catcher threw the ball into the right field corner it drove both Zimmerman and Zeak homeward for the Eagles 3-0 lead. The Bears got their first run benefiting from an Eagle error and threw walks to cut the lead to 3-1 after four innings.
Some more Eagle scrappiness came out in the top of the fifth. Again, Moffett drew another walk to lead off the inning. When McNeal flew out to the shortstop, Wortman singled to left, but Bears left fielder Maceo Christmas gunned down Moffett at third for the second out of the inning. Tierney came up and took a 1-2 pitch and drove it for a hit driving in Wortman to put the Forge up 4-1.
In the 5th the momentum of this one changed and it wasn’t good. The Bears grabbed the energy, got more aggressive at the dish and on the base paths (5 stolen bases the final 3 innings), and it left the young Eagles back on their heels.
With one out in the fifth the Bears Joel Tarrah walked, Christmas advanced him to second on a single, and Tarrah then stole third. Eagles Coach David Colangelo called on Josh Daas out of the bullpen for the Forge and he struck out Ethan Dye for the second out. Tony Skinner singled to drive in Tarrah and when Ryan Baechtel singled, it scored Christmas and the Bears were back in business at 4-3 after 5 innings.
Riverbend pitching held the Forge hitless over the last two innings benefited from Eagle miscues to get back in the game. The Bears were still down a run with their last at bats and they took advantage of a couple of Forge errors to even the score and eventually grab the victory. This game reminded many Forge fans of another head shaking loss at Forest Park a few years ago when the Bruins won a game never hitting the ball out of the infield. In this one Tarrh led off the frame when he reached on an error on a towering fly ball at the pitcher’s mound. A walk and a two brain freezing errors tied the game and had Baechtel standing at the plate with the bases loaded. He wouldn’t let the opportunity go by getting a base hit to drive in Christmas for the winning run.
The Forge overall record falls to 3-3, and they will have another shot at the Bears on Monday night in a regular season district contest @ The Ballpark @ The Forge. The bottom line in this one, when you have leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in the late innings, you have to win those games.
On Tuesday the Eagles will face the Warriors of Western Albemarle at 4pm at Stafford High School. The Forge will then face Stafford at 1:30pm on Wednesday to close out the Spring Break back at Riverbend.