It wasn’t a perfect weekend for Holtville’s baseball team but the Bulldogs still grabbed a pair of wins against Marbury and Dadeville.
At the heart of both victories, Mikey Forney led the charge at the plate and finished the weekend with four hits, including two home runs against Dadeville. Forney is the Elmore County Player of the Week.
“He’s in a position in the lineup to drive in runs,” Holtville coach Torey Baird said. “He will tell you he is going to do everything he can to help the team win. And my goal for him to have a quality at bat every time at the plate.”
After getting two hits in Friday’s win over Marbury, Forney was looking to take some momentum into a Saturday doubleheader at Benjamin Russell. However, he struggled to make an impact in the opening game against the hosts, going hitless for the first time this season in a 7-6 defeat.
The loss was Holtville’s first and the Bulldogs appeared to be heading for another after Dadeville took a four-run lead in the second inning of Game 2. Forney hit a solo home run to cut into the deficit with two outs in the third inning.
“I just try to keep a straight head and stay focused on what needs to be done,” Forney said. “I was feeling more confident. It was a new game. I had to reset my mind on what needed to be done.”
He came back to the plate in the next inning with a chance to inflict more damage with the bases loaded. After one run scored on a wild pitch, Forney hit a three-run shot to center to give Holtville its first lead.
“The first one he hit got us on the board and the second one gave us the lead,” Baird said. “It was the turning point in the game. They were too very big at-bats. (I) can’t put into words how crucial he was at the plate.”
The two homers were the season’s first for Forney and he was surprised to see either of them clear the wall. His second sparked an eight-run inning for Holtville.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Forney said. “I just felt good and I barreled it up. I was running like it wasn’t a home run. I busted it out of the box.”
Forney’s day was far from over as he was called upon for his first pitching appearance of the season in the bottom of the seventh. After retiring two of the first three hitters, Dadeville stormed back to force extra innings with back-to-back RBI singles against Forney.
“That was his first appearance of the year,” Baird said. “He won’t get a lot of time on the mound because he’s in that late role but he will get better. They just did a really good job hitting. I’m sure he got frustrated. He didn’t hang his head though.”
Forney now leads the team with an OPS of 1.309 and has reached base at least twice in all five wins. Baird said Forney is crucial to Holtville’s success moving forward.
“That’s huge for us,” Baird said. “He’s one of our best hitters and that’s no secret. He didn’t have a great game the first game but he bounced right back. He’s a smart guy and his baseball IQ is very high. And he has the ability.”