Groves’ shutout propels Forsyth into first place tie

A night after having their Senior Night spoiled by Ava, Forsyth returns the favor against Galena.  Some timely hitting and a complete game shutout from Tyler Groves led the Panthers past the Bears 3-0, moving them into a virtual first place tie with Galena, who already locked up at least a share of the SWCL title.

All this happened on a field that was under three feet of flood water just 48 hours before.  Fortunately, Mother Nature and a resilient field cooperated, allowing the teams to get the game in as scheduled.

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Galena senior and SBU signee Logan Sorrell retired the first nine batters, including five strikeouts in the first two innings, but got in trouble in the 4th.

Johnny Mayhew led off the inning with a walk; the Panthers’ first base runner of the game.  Following a flyout, Groves doubled to put runners at second and third.  Kaleb Ethridge worked a walk to load the bases.  Kendon Doublin followed by roping a line drive to center, but Coby Sartin made a spectacular diving catch to save extra bases.  It was deep enough however to score Mayhew on a sac fly making it 1-0.

The next batter, Darrien Woods broke things open with a 2-rbi double to left.  Sorrell got out of the jam from there and finished with an impressive complete game, 2-hitter, striking out 13, but the damage was done in that single frame.

“That’s baseball,” said Sorrell, who was also 2-3 at the plate with a double.  “My pitch selection was the big thing.  I was throwing the wrong pitches on the wrong counts and that’s what got to me.”

“Logan’s a great pitcher, Galena’s a great team and they’re well coached,” said Forsyth head coach Jim Julian.  “We knew we had to bring our best game and Tyler had to throw a heck of a game and he did.”

Groves scattered four hits, striking out seven, including the final batter of the game with the tying run on 1st base.

“I felt amazing,” said Groves.  “It’s the best I’ve felt all year.  I was confident through the whole game.  I trusted my defense and they did a heck of a job.  I’m very proud of our team.”

That defense included a 5-4-3 double play to end the 5th and a diving catch by Cale Wallace to end the 6th.

Galena (6-1) had already locked up at least a share of the conference title.  Forsyth (5-1) can earn a share of the title with a win tomorrow night, hosting Forsyth.  Crane also has a chance to earn a share of the title with their lone SWCL loss coming to Galena.

Galena (class 3) and Forsyth (class 3) wrap up the regular at the Forsyth Tournament this weekend before starting districts next week.