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Resilient Champs Walk Off Rockets In Game One, Drop Game Two on the Road to Split Series

Noah Maddox
Posted 4/17/24

The Cascade Champions picked up a District 9-AA series split against the Forrest Rockets on Monday and Tuesday.

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Resilient Champs Walk Off Rockets In Game One, Drop Game Two on the Road to Split Series



The Cascade Champions took game one of their District 9-AA series against the Forrest Rockets in dramatic fashion on Monday night, walking off the Rockets in the bottom of the seventh to win, 4-3.

Logan Green, after being pinch-hit for in the previous inning, stepped up to bat down to his team’s final out with the bases loaded and trailing by a single run. Cascade’s senior center fielder promptly deposited the third pitch he saw into center field for a base hit, allowing Sawyer Lovvorn and courtesy runner Elijah Wesenberg to come around to score the tying and winning runs. 

The explosive Cascade offense was held in check for the majority of the night with Rockets’ starter Preston Gentry keeping the Champs at bay for the first five and two thirds innings. 

Cascade’s ace Walker Craig held his own on the mound against a disciplined Chapel Hill lineup, and this game was a pitchers duel until the fifth inning when the visitors were able to scratch across two runs thanks to an RBI groundout by Gentry and a two-out RBI double by Tyler Baxter. Craig finished the night going six complete innings on 92 pitches, giving up five hits and two runs with four walks while striking out five batters.

As Chapel Hill took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth, Gentry looked like he was going to hurl six complete shutout innings. Then, Travis Sheffield sent a freshman, Isaac Winton, to the plate to bat for Logan Green with two outs and nobody on base just to find any sort of spark, and a spark is exactly what he found. 

Winton, who was 1-3 coming into that at-bat in his career, delivered a two out single into right-center field, and after a James Magee double drove in the run, Cascade cut the lead to one run. 

This brought up freshman right fielder Wickey Parker, who had struck out looking in both of his previous at bats, wasted no time in swinging at the first pitch he saw, hitting a soft grounder to second base. Mealer, knowing he had to hurry his throw to beat out the speedy Parker, rushed it too much, throwing underneath the glove and allowing Cascade to score their second run of the night to tie the game at 2-2. Gentry would strikeout the next batter, limiting any further damage, but the majority of the damage had already been done. 

Gentry did not come back out for the seventh, so he went six complete innings, giving up seven hits, two runs with only one of them being earned, and he struck out 12 batters while only walking one.

Chapel Hill would respond by loading the bases in the top of the seventh against reliever Zach Crosslin thanks to a pair of walks and Tyler Baxter’s third base hit of the night. After Kason Fuller lined out for the second out, Crosslin lost the aptly named Carter Walk on five pitches, allowing the visiting Rockets to take the lead, 3-2,  with an RBI walk. Crosslin then settled down to retire the next batter, but Cascade would once again have to rally, but this time the top of the lineup would be leading things off.

After an infield pop-up by Connor Melson, the lineup flipped over to Jordan Childress, who drew a one out walk from new reliever Kason Fuller. Sawyer Lovvorn then nearly grounded into a game-ending double play, but he was able to beat out the throw at first base. Walker Craig then singled into left field, moving Lovvorn to second, and after cleanup hitter Jayden Hathcock was hit by a pitch, the Champions had the bases loaded with two outs and Logan Green stepping back up to the plate. 

This time, Sheffield left Green in against the new pitcher, Fuller, and the senior delivered with his first walk off hit of the season on a line drive into right centerfield to drive home Lovvorn and Wesenberg to win game one, 4-3, and pick up their 10th win of the season.

Logan Green (3) delivered his first walk-off hit of the year on Monday.
Logan Green (3) delivered his first walk-off hit of the year on Monday.


Cascade went on the road for game two of the series, but the Forrest Rockets’ bats came to life in a 16-10 win for the home side in a game that lasted almost three and a half hours on Tuesday night.

Jayden Hathcock made his return to the mound for the first time since March 18th at Huntland, and it showed in the first inning in his command. Chapel Hill sent all nine batters to the plate, and despite leaving the bases loaded, they were able to push across three runs. The Rockets also were able to force Hathcock to throw 41 pitches to get three outs, so Travis Sheffield brought out Sawyer Lovvorn for the bottom of the second inning. Hathcock only gave up one base hit in the inning, but he walked four batters and hit one other as the hosts put together quality at-bat after quality at-bat. 

Lovvorn came in and threw 2.1 innings, giving up five hits, nine runs – six earned – and five walks to three strikeouts. Lovvorn only had thrown five innings all season up until Tuesday night. 

Logan Green came in for Lovvorn with one out in the fourth inning to face the leadoff hitter, Brennan Mealer, with the bases loaded. Mealer promptly deposited the fifth pitch he saw in a 2-2 count over the right field wall for the first and only home run of the night, driving home all four runs for a backbreaking grand slam to take a 13-6 lead going into the fifth inning.

Caden Hammonds came in for Green, who left facing the minimum of three batters without recording a single out, and Hammonds was able to go the final 2.2 innings to close out the game. He gave up five hits, three runs, and struck out one batter while walking one. He also recorded a base hit at the plate in his at-bat in place of Green.

Luke Allen got the start on the mound for Chapel Hill, giving the Rockets 3.0 innings against an extremely potent Champions offense. He gave up five hits, six runs – with four of them coming in the third inning as Cascade batted around – and struck out two batters while walking three. 

Carter Walk came in to relieve Allen in the fourth inning with two on and nobody out, and despite giving up a first pitch RBI double to Sawyer Lovvorn, settled down to strike out Walker Craig and Jayden Hathcock to end the inning after Lovvorn was thrown out at third base.

Walk closed out the game, giving up only four runs – three earned – on just three hits. He also struck out four batters while walking three, and he was able to induce a lot of soft contact with the combination of his fastball and breaking ball.

Chapel Hill took a 3-0 lead after the first inning, but Cascade’s bats woke up in the second and third innings, scoring five runs total to take a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the third. 

In the home half, Carter Walk took a leadoff walk, and Chapel Hill took advantage by scoring four runs to take a 7-5 lead to end the third. Cascade cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth, 7-6, but then another leadoff walk led to another massive inning by the Rockets in the bottom half of the fourth inning to take a 13-6 lead. 

Cascade responded with three runs of their own to trim the lead to 13-9, but the Rockets methodically found ways to tack on one run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth to counteract the Champs’ one run in the top of the seventh and were able to pick up their 10th win of the year, 16-10.

Cascade falls to 10-6 (4-2) and are set to continue District 9-AA play on Monday and Tuesday against Grundy County.

Cascade Champions, Logan Green, Forrest Rockets, Chapel Hill, Travis Sheffield