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Vikings finish 2nd in district tourney, advance to region

By CHRIS SIERS ~ sports@t-g.com
Posted 5/12/22

CHAPEL HILL — An aggressive approach on the base paths and at the plate helped Communty build a big lead in Game 1 of the District 7-AA finals on Tuesday, but in the end, the top-seeded Forrest …

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Vikings finish 2nd in district tourney, advance to region

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CHAPEL HILL — An aggressive approach on the base paths and at the plate helped Communty build a big lead in Game 1 of the District 7-AA finals on Tuesday, but in the end, the top-seeded Forrest Rockets were able to rally past the Vikings in the later innings to take a 9-8 win and claim the tournament title.
Maki Fleming singled in the first at-bat of the game and scampered around the bags with a pair of stolen bases and stood safely on third base with nobody out.
He went on to score on a sac-fly by Mason Russell, giving Community an early 1-0 lead.
While the Rockets evened the score in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single.
The same trend continued in the second inning as both teams drove in a single run, with Blaine Paschal leading off the inning and eventually scoring on a fielder’s choice by Stratton Lovvorn.
Andrew Timmons knocked in a second Forrest run to tie the game at two apiece after the second inning.
But following the second Rocket score, Community was able to work the bases loaded in the top of the third and Gage Underwood laced a one-out single to center field, driving in one.
Paschal then doubled to left and plated a second Viking run of the inning.
A third Community run in the third inning came off the bat of Lovvorn, who connected for his second hit of the game and bumped the Community lead to 5-2 by the end of the third.
Feeding off the momentum of the three-run third, Russell sat the Rockets down in order in the bottom of the third inning, allowing the Viking battery to get back to work in the top of the fourth.
Fleming legged out a throw to first and safely reached via Rocket error to lead off the fourth and advanced his way around the bags on a sacrifice bunt and eventually scored when the Forrest centerfielder mis-handled a fly ball.
Community got a second run on the inning when Paschal popped up, but another Forrest error allowed another Viking run to cross the plate, giving Community a 7-2 lead.
Things began to turn in the bottom off the fifth when a Community error allowed the Rockets to score and a two-run homer off the bat of Brennan Mealer brought Forrest within two runs of the Viking lead.
With the momentum shift in favor of the Rockets, Community went a quiet 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth and the Rockets put four-straight batters on base, with Cam Vaughn being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to pull Forrest within one.
A sac-fly to right tied the game at seven apiece before a groundball single to left put Forrest on top.
A bases-loaded walk by Braden Bowyer plated a fourth Rocket run in the sixth and proved to be the eventual game-winner.
Now trailing and down to three outs, Community got back-to-back walks by Paschal and Corey Paterick and then Lovvorn was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out.
Fleming then ground into a fielder’s choice, driving in an eighth Community run, but the Rockets were able to record the final out and preserve the district title.
Even with the loss, the Vikings still are alive and qualify for the Region 4-AA tournament.
The region semifinal will be hosted by East Nashville at Shelby Park on Monday at 6 p.m.

Community 113 200 1 — 8 8 2
Forrest 110 034 x — 9 9 5

Community: Maki Fleming 1-for-5, Dylan Norris 1-for-3, Gage Underwood 1-for-2, Blaine Paschal 2-for-3, Sam Holley 1-for-3, S. Lovvorn 2-for-3.
2B: Paschal
WP: Gentry
LP: Russell

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