Nelson’s big bat helps Maine Lightning Select complete perfect week

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 30, 2023

Brian Connolly legs out infield hit before eventually scoring the second run for Maine Lightning.

By Sean Reilly 

Forrest Nelson couldn’t have had a better experience this week at Diamond Nation. 

The 6-2, 280-pound first baseman put on an impressive power display, played solid defense and even showed quickness on the bases to impress the many college coaches who were watching his Maine Lightning Select 2024 team compete on Thursday morning at the Super 17 Invitational, Powered By Victus.

Even better, his team went home with four wins in four games after defeating the North Jersey Cardinals 2025, 7-0, in Flemington. 

Maine Lightning Select’s 4-0 showing, with a 21-9 run differential, has it tied for the top spot among the 90 teams competing this week at ‘The Nation.’ There are no playoffs, but the top five teams qualify for the Super 17 Top 25 in August.

The Lightning had won games on Monday and Wednesday before defeating MVP New York 2025, 6-5, early on Thursday. The shutout over the Cardinals immediately followed.

The catalyst in the final win was Nelson, the rising senior at Groton School in Central New York, who went 3-for-4.

His solo home run to left field with one out in the top of the second gave the Lightning Select a 1-0 lead. He cracked an RBI grounds rule double to right field for a 2-0 score with two out in the fourth, and he continued his all-fields hitting by doubling over the center fielder’s head leading off the sixth. 

“It was a good day,” said Nelson, who was 1-for-2 with a walk in the earlier game on Thursday. “I was playing baseball and just having fun. This was a good team week, and a good week all around.”

Starting pitcher Noah Carpenter threw four scoreless innings for Maine Lightning Select 2024.

There was plenty to like from the Lightning Select against the Cardinals, including the work of starting pitcher Noah Carpenter, who struck out four and walked three while allowing two hits over four innings. Three relievers each threw a hitless inning to complete the shutout. 

Nelson’s home run in the second inning was the first hit for his team. 

“I was trying to hit the ball hard wherever it was thrown and put the ball in play,” he said. “On that one, I saw a pitch middle, put a good swing on it and the ball went.” 

The Lightning Select extended the lead in the fourth inning. Brian Connolly led off by beating out a grounder to shortstop. He took second on an error on a pickoff attempt, and then stole third as the next two batters were retired on pop-ups to second base. 

Nelson then came to the plate, and this time went opposite field with his ball hit to deep right field and bounced over the fence, scoring Connolly for a 2-0 score.

“He threw a curve, and I tried to drive it the other way and stay inside it,” he said. “I tried to put a barrel on it, and it went.” 

The Lightning Select scored three more runs in the fifth. Ethan Hendry reached on a walk and scored the first run on a balk. Grady Vanidestine, who had singled, scored the second run on the front end of a first-and-third double steal. Andrew Cheever then hit a run-scoring single. 

Nelson led off the sixth inning, and he smashed a double over the head of the center fielder.

“I saw a fastball and just kind of tagged it,” he said. “I tried to put a good swing on it and hit it hard.”

Forrest Nelson hit a home run and two doubles and played a solid first base, for Maine Lightning.

Nelson scampered to third on a wild pitch and showed that he’s also got decent wheels when he scored on Mark Axelsen’s sacrifice fly to center field. 

Brenden Dunlap (2-for-3) followed with a double to right field, and he scored on a base hit to the left side by Hendry. 

“This was fun, a sweep week and good week all-around,” Nelson said. “This was the best game. It feels good to end on a high note, and to go 4-0.”

Jason Habedank and Alex Adornato had singles for the Cardinals, who are 1-1-1 with a game to play on Friday morning.

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