The Fair Grove Eagles pulled off a major upset Monday night in the Class 3 Sectional game after defeating the No. 1 state ranked Forsyth Panthers, 1-0.
The game was a classic pitcher’s duel between Eagle Deric Link and Panther Logan Horner, as they both collected eight strikeouts. The game’s lone run was scored when Link hit a long homerun in the third inning to give his Eagles a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Forsyth would get its first two hitters on base in their first biggest threat of the night. Sophomore third baseman Jay Kaufman would lead the inning off with a single, followed by an additional single off the bat of Derek Hurst. With two runners on and one out, Link would get the next batter to groundout into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Horner would hold the Eagles at bay from the fourth inning on, allowing no hits and only two base runners the rest of the night. Link would pitch out of trouble in the sixth inning when the Panthers had runners on second and third. Hurst would hit a short fly ball to left field. Seeing the chance to score from third, Taylor Darting would make the run toward home only to be thrown out at the plate, as catcher Caleb Edwards held onto the ball.
“That was huge, the double play we turned with runners on second and third,” said Link. “When Darting stole third, I’m pretty sure that was their first runner on third all night. He took a gamble and we made a heck of a play.”
Any momentum Forsyth had in the sixth inning was gone after Darting’s out at the plate. The seventh inning was uneventful, as both teams went three up, three down.
“It was a great game, a classic pitcher’s duel,” said Forsyth head coach Jim Julian. “Logan only gave up one run on three hits with eight strikeouts. Deric had eight strikeouts and one walk. It was a good clean game. We put the ball into play and they had to make great plays. That’s baseball. They pitched it and played solid defense.”
“It feels pretty good to be an Eagle today,” said Fair Grove head coach Christian Overstreet. “First, tip your hats to Forsyth, they’ve had a great season. I told my guys earlier in the year when we lost to them on this field (14-4) this is what we want to be like at the end of the season. It helps having a guy like Deric who willed us to that win, and did a great job for us.”
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