EAST BEND — After a hard-hitting 12-11 win over West Stokes on Tuesday, the Forbush Falcons were looking to right their wrongs on Thursday night in East Bend. The Falcons were taking on the West Stokes Wildcats for the second time in three days after Forbush barely made it out of King with a 12-11 win on Tuesday. Luckily for the Falcons, they learned from their mistakes and used their home field advantage to earn a 9-3 win over the Wildcats to sweep the series.
“It feels great to sweep a good ball club, after we played a 12-11 ball game [in King],” Falcons Head Coach Jack Moss said after Forbush’s 9-3 win on Thursday night. “West Stokes is a great team — they hit it well and they came out swinging hard and jumped on top of us, but we were able to battle back.”
The Falcons found themselves down 2-0 going into the bottom of the first, but they didn’t let that dissuade them from scoring four runs of their own before the first inning was over. The first three batters for the Falcons earned walks, while the cleanup hitter, Jacob Shore, earned a walk the hard way by being hit by a wild pitch. The Falcons tied the game 2-2 then went ahead 3-2 after the West Stokes pitcher walked his fourth batter of the night. Forbush players Carter Foster, Garrett Brickey, Jack Crews, and Shore all crossed home plate to give the Falcons a 4-2 lead.
On the field, the Falcons were relying on pitcher Tyler Campbell to get them through a few innings before making the change to Jack Crews. Campbell gave the Falcons four complete innings where he struck out three batters and ended the night with a 5.25 ERA.
“It feels good to get the win tonight, and I have to give credit to our pitchers,” said Moss. “Campbell gutted up on one day’s rest and threw me four solid innings, while Jack threw three innings tonight to close the game for us after throwing five innings a day ago. Both of those kids were pitching on one days rest, so they did well tonight.”
The Falcons finished off the game strong scoring three runs in the third inning, and two runs in the fourth. In the bottom of the third, Wesley Wood laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases for Forbush. With the bases loaded and one out, Tanner Gregory stepped up to the plate and earned an RBI that brought Jacob Shore across the plate. Blake Winebarger and Wesley Wood scored the final two runs of the inning for the Falcons.
In the bottom of the fourth, Carter Foster and Tyler Campbell earned base hits before West Stokes made a pitching change. Jack Crews was the first batter for the Falcons to face the new pitcher, but he didn’t let it intimidate him as he brought Foster across the plate with an RBI hit to left center field. The final run for the Falcons was scored by Shore, who made it home after Blake Winebarger smashed the ball into left field to earn a double. From there, the Falcons were on cruise control as they earned a 9-3 victory to put them in prime position for the WPAC conference title.
“I’m proud of the way we played tonight, both defensively and offensively,” said Moss. “Everyone hit the ball, I’m proud of the overall team effort tonight. It was a great win.”
Forbush returns to action Tuesday night where it will battle Surry Central for the conference championship. If the Falcons beat Surry Central on Tuesday, they will win the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference championship, if they lose on Tuesday they will have to win on Friday in Dobson. If the Falcons come away with the title, it will be the first time since 2007 the Falcons have won their conference, which is coincidentally the last time Moss was the head baseball coach for the Falcons.
Winning the conference won’t be an easy feat for Forbush since it faces a resilient Surry Central team. Although Forbush has allowed only 21 runs this season, Surry Central has allowed a mere 18 runs. While the defensive tactics for both teams are strong, it’s Forbush who exceeds in the batter’s box. The Falcons have the advantage on runs scored as they are second in the WPAC with 80 runs scored, whereas Surry Central has only scored 53 runs this season.
On the hitting side, Blake Winebarger leads the WPAC with a .455 batting average along with his teammates Jamie Sheek (.434) and Tyler Campbell (.433), while Surry Central’s Ethan Danley has a .421 batting average. On the pitching side, Forbush’s Jack Crews leads the WPAC as he has struck out 47 batters. Surry Central’s Tyler Myers comes in second with 40 batters struck out. Surry Central also leads the WPAC standings in fielding percentage and stolen bases. Forbush leads in on-base percentage and home runs.
The Falcons have a conference record of 7-1, while Surry Central has a record of 5-3. The match-up between these two teams will be nothing short of exciting.
The battle for the conference championship begins at Forbush on Tuesday night with first pitch set for 7 p.m. Tuesday is also senior night for the Falcons.
Kristian Russell can be reached at 336-258-4052 or on Twitter @YadkinElkSports.