EAST BEND — Mason Doub struck out nine batters over four innings and Neil Hutchens delivered a 2-run double in the third as Forbush defeated visiting Starmount, 6-3, Wednesday night.
Doub struggled, sputtered and battled through 82 pitches, walking four and allowing two hits, but the senior didn’t give up a run as the Falcons built a 3-0 lead.
“A win’s a win, but it wasn’t a pretty one,” Forbush Coach Denny Key said. “We threw a lot of pitches.”
Doub threw 57 pitches in his first two innings of work, but settled down in the third and fourth innings. Key said Doub “showed good command of all his pitches.”
Hutchens’ big hit came after Bryce Hennings walked, Bryson Lee struck out, and Barrett Hennings walked. Hutchens then lined a solid double to right center to score both Hennings.
The Falcons opened the scoring in the first with a walk to Lee, two errors, and a run-scoring sacrifice fly by Carson Fulp to make it 1-0.
The Rams scored twice in the fifth to cut the Falcon lead to 3-2. Luke Shore led off with a bunt single, moved to second on a groundout by Caleb West, and scored on a double by Sawyer Davis. Davis then scored on a single by Ben Combs. Combs was cut down trying to stretch his single into a double on a beautiful 8-6-4 relay.
The Falcons made it 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Barrett Hennings tripled to lead off the inning, but was tagged out in a rundown on Hutchens’ grounder to the mound. Hutchens advanced to second on the play and then scored on Fulp’s single.
Starmount added a run in the sixth when West singled in Tanner Somers, who singled to open the inning.
Forbush added two insurance runs in the sixth. A leadoff single by Brett Fulk was followed by a walk to Jared Williams. Jacob Penley, in his only plate appearance, singled in Fulk. Williams came in two batters later on Barrett Hennings’ sacrifice fly.
“We made some nice plays in the field,” Key said. “We made plays when we had to.” Specifically, Key complimented the work of Carson Fulp at shortstop.
Key also was pleased his team generally got runners in when they were in scoring position. Key did say his team will work on hitting at the next practice. “A whole lot of hitting,” Key said. “We’re going to to do that for two hours. We’re going to learn not to try to hit the ball 400 feet.”
Despite allowing three runs in four innings of work, Starmount starter Cody Whitaker was fairly sharp for an early-season game. Only one of the runs was earned. He walked three and struck out five.
“Cody did a good job as the game went on,” Starmount Coach Josh Pardue said. “It’s tough for pitchers to get their legs under them early in the year. He’s still working on the off-speed stuff.”
Pardue also was pleased with the work of Blake Cheek who relieved Whitaker in the fifth. “Cody and Blake did a good job getting their pitches in,” Pardue said. “It’s a good starting point.”
Pardue also thought his team’s approach at the plate improved as the game went on. Of his team’s defensive performance, Pardue said there was work to do. “We can’t dig ourselves a hole, giving up runs like that,” he said.
The Falcons are now 2-0. It was Starmount’s opening game.
S 000 021 0 - 3 7 3
F 102 012 x - 6 5 0
S - Cody Whitaker, Blake Cheek (5) and Caleb West. F - Mason Doub, Brett Fulk (5), Brad Dzeskewicz (5) and Neil Hutchens. 2B - Hutchens (F), Sawyer Davis (S). 3B - Barrett Hennings (F).