Forney Can’t Ground the Eagles
The matchup was billed as pitching vs execution. The Forney Jackrabbits entered the 5A State Championship with A&M commit and 10-game winner Jonathan Childress in their back pocket; and the Eaton Eagles, on only their 2nd year as a varsity program, gameplanned to wear Childress down and follow that up with flawless execution. While Childress proved effective, Eaton did find ways to get to the big lefty, notching three runs in the 5th and another in the 6th. Eaton combined back-to-back walks in the top of the 5th, a balk (one of two on the day for Childress) a double steal, a hit-and-run, along with another single to score their three runs. Those three would prove enough for the Eagles on this sunny Saturday afternoon at Dell Diamond.
While Eaton’s offense was definitely on exhibit, the Eagle’s pitching was front and center. Senior Riley Taylor was lights out, going the distance and allowing only 3 hits while striking out 7. Taylor was brilliant on the day throwing 105 pitches and never allowing the Jackrabbits to get in an offensive groove. That performance earned Taylor the Championship Game MVP.
The first inning saw Forney’s Childress face five Eaton batters, striking out 2 and allowing two runners on a lead-off single by Colby Seltzer and a walk from semifinals starter, Jerrod Seals. Taylor answered with his own scoreless inning, striking out 2 and allowing a run on an error by the shortstop.
The second inning saw much of the same, with Childress notching another strikeout, but giving up an infield hit to Jack Angus and a single to right field by Brock Webber. Riley Taylor answered back with a statement inning, striking out the side in order on 11 pitches.
Jonathan Childress found a similar groove in the third, getting a one pitch out, followed by back-to-back strikeouts of Seals and Wilson. Riley Taylor began the third with a walk of Ryland Kerby, who would come around and score the lone run of the day for Forney after a sac bunt by Brenden Williams and a single to the left by Sean Stephens.
The scoring resumed in the top of the 5th inning, where Eaton showed their ability to execute. After a walk by Cade Winquest, Childress balked, moving Winquest to second. Seals followed that up with a full count walk. Winquest and Seals pulled off a flawless double steal to put runners at second and third for Eaton. Zach Wilson followed with a single to left field, scoring Winquest. Not to be outdone, Sean Klein executed a perfect hit and run, scoring Seals for Eaton’s second run of the inning. Klein would advance on a wild pitch later in the inning and score on another Childress balk, giving the Eagles what would prove to be an insurmountable lead.
Eaton would add another run in the 6th to pad their lead and Forney would go down in order in both the 6th and 7th.
Congratulations to both Eaton and Forney on a fantastic season and best of luck to all of the seniors as they move on to whatever life, school, and/or baseball holds. It’s been an honor to cover 5A baseball this year. Thank you to the coaches, players, fans, and administrators for making what we do much easier. You are all a class act.