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Kettle Run begins baseball season with well-rounded victory over Broad Run

Friday, Mar. 15 | By Jeff Malmgren
Donnie Forgacs went from being the source of an error to being the trouble-shooter Friday.

That helped the Kettle Run Cougars open the 2013 baseball season with a 6-3 victory over the Broad Run Spartans at home in Nokesville.

Forgacs mishandled a ground ball at shortstop to begin the top of the sixth inning, which helped the Spartans load the bases with no outs. Joe Delahaba reached on Forgacs' error, then Michael Kennedy got hit by a pitch and Michael Martinez singled.

It looked as though Broad Run would be able to rally back from its 5-2 deficit.

Kennedy's hit-by-pitch elicited a Kettle Run coach out of the dugout for a mound visit. Forgacs beat that coach to the mound and patted relief pitcher Joey Cloud on the back as he spoke.

"I told him, 'My bad. Give me another ground ball to turn two,'" Forgacs said.

Sometimes redemption is only a request away.

Two pitches later, Broad Run's Evan Davis hit a ground ball up the middle that Forgacs fielded a step away from second base. He scooped up the ball, stepped on the bag and threw to first for the double play.

"That's our chance to try and break through, and they made a nice double play," Broad Run coach Pat Cassidy said. "We pushed a run across, but the momentum kind of swung back their way."

The Spartans did score on the double play, narrowing Kettle Run's lead to 6-3, but that was the only run they produced in the inning because Kennedy later got into a run-down between third base and home. He got tagged out by Cloud at the plate.

Forgacs ran off the field screaming, "Let's go!"

"Once you get to redeem yourself and get a double play like that, there's not a better feeling," Forgacs said. "Just pumped up."

The Spartans didn't get a hit the rest of the game.

"They think they can come back really easily" with the bases loaded, senior Marc Henry said. "When you shut them down to one run, that just kind of takes everything they have away."

Forgacs' double play also helped preserve his victory as a pitcher. The senior allowed two earned runs on six hits, one walk and one hit batsman, while striking out four over five innings before Cloud relieved him.

Cloud allowed one unearned run on one hit and one hit batsman over two innings. He enticed three ground ball outs.

"That's the beauty of Joey," Cougars coach Ty Thorpe said. "His fastball isn't going to surprise anybody, but he keeps the ball low and he's mostly a ground ball pitcher. That was clutch."

The Kettle Run offense, which Thorpe was uncertain about entering the season, gave Forgacs and Cloud plenty of breathing room Friday. The Cougars took 2-0 lead in the first inning on a single by Henry, walk by Brian Reinaldo, sac-fly RBI by Matt Tingle and RBI-single by Jack Briles.

In the second inning, Henry hit a two-RBI triple that scored Rollin Buffington (single) and Jason Alvarez (single) for a 4-0 lead against Kennedy, Broad Run's starting pitcher.

"Our big focus this week: it's alright to look at strike one, but then you've got to go up there and be more aggressive," Thorpe said. "If we can go with that approach every time, it's going to give us an opportunity to score runs."

Henry led Kettle Run by going 3-for-3 from the leadoff position. He finished with three RBI, two stolen bases, a run and a walk.

"When the other team's leadoff man is on four times and he triples, it spells doom," Cassidy said.

Alvarez went 2-for-3 for Kettle Run with two runs, while Forgacs went 1-for-3 with a RBI, run and stolen base. Tingle and Briles gave the Cougars four players with at least one RBI.

"That's huge because I thought that'd be the biggest question mark – not knowing how some of these younger guys would do in these starter roles with some seeing varsity pitching for the first time," Thorpe said of a team that lost seven starters to graduation following last season."

For Broad Run, Delahaba went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI, while Matt McClusky went 1-for-1 with a run and RBI.
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