Lady Rockets crush Viqueens in opener

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham was not happy about her team's less than lackluster 2-4 pre-season performance in the Nike Gulf Shores Tournament last week and when they arrived back in Chapel Hill they hit the practice field for some long hours to work out the kinks.

Cheatham said, "I think the hard work has paid off. As bad as I hated how we played in Florida, I have to remember we were playing excellent competition down there and we went there to get better and I think we have done that."

After a rainout of their season opener on Monday, Cheatham and the 2008-2009 Class A state runner up Lady Rockets took their frustrations out on the Community Viqueens in a 14-1 shellacking in Unionville on Wednesday.

Shelby Stinnett blasts a two-run home run in the third inning, putting the game out of reach. Besides the big knock, Stinnett hurled three innings of perfect ball as the Lady Rockets beat Community 14-1 in their regular season opener in Unionville.

"That was exactly what we needed," said Cheatham after the ballgame. "We had no errors and we had everybody contributing. I don't have anything negative to say. We stepped it up a notch and we are going to continue stepping it up everyday."

Leading the way for Forrest was five-year starter and three-time All-State hurler Shelby Stinnett who turned in three perfect innings in the circle before giving way to Brook Herron in the fourth with an 11-0 lead.

Forrest's Ciara Cook takes off for first base after laying down a perfect bunt in the third inning. Cook would go on to steal second, third, and home in the inning. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Stinnett was also 2-2 at the plate, including a two-run homer in the third inning.

Stinnett said, "We have had a few days of really, really hard practice. I think the old Miss Cheatham has come back out a little bit and it showed out here. We had Cook have a great game and a new player at third (Warlick) making some great plays and without them and the rest of my teammates I couldn't have had what I had."

The speedy and youthful Lady Rockets ran circles around Community, playing the trademark brand of small ball that has lifted the program to the echelon of the sport.

Korissa Warlick knocks home a run in the second inning with a single to center field.

Knocking the speedsters in on RBI knocks were Korissa Warlick, Brook Herron, Adrean Jordan, Caitlyn Rotchford, Whitney Stofel, and Stinnett.

With power and speed, Cheatham has the makings of a team that can score runs in bunches.

Forrest sophomore Shortstop Ciara Cook looked like Ricochet Rabbit on the base paths, reaching base in all three of her plate appearances on pure speed and when she got there, she did not stay long.

Cook stole four bases in the ballgame and scored three runs, including a remarkable feat in the third frame when she led off with a bunt single and then proceeded to steal second, steal third, and then steal home.

Junior Chelsea Johnson, who played the entire 2008-2009 season with a nagging shoulder injury reached base every time from her leadoff spot and stole three bases and scored three runs.

Another sophomore speedster, Courtney Hollandsworth was 1-3 from the dish with two RBI's and three stolen bases, including a steal of home in the second inning.

Johnson led off the game with a base on balls and on the first pitch to Hollandsworth, Johnson stole second.

The throw from the catcher got through and Johnson turned on the after burners, scoring easily.

Stinnett took the 1-0 lead into the bottom of the inning and picked up right where she left off last season, mowing down the Viqueens 1-2-3.

Jordan led off the second, reaching base on a dropped third strike.

Lady Rocket Whitney Stofel bangs an RBI double in the big six-run second inning for Forrest, who won 14-1 in thier regular season opener Wednesday at Community.

Stofel doubled to center, driving in Jordan and Warlick followed with an RBI single left.

Warlick stole second and Cook followed with an infield single, putting runners at the corners.

Cook stole second and Johnson walked, loading the sacks for Hollandsworth, who banged a two-run single to left.

Stinnett singled to left field, reloading the sacks.

Rotchford followed with an RBI fielder's choice and on the next pitch to Herron, Rotchford took off for second, drawing a throw from Community.

Hollandsworth took off for home and scored easily, making it 7-0.

The Viqueens got out of the jam, but Stinnett put them back out in field in another 1-2-3 inning.

Cook pulled off the triple solo steal after leading off the third with a perfect bunt single, making it an eight run ballgame.

Johnson walked and proceeded to steal second and third.

After a pop-up left Johnson on the third base bag, Stinnett took a high pitch from Amber Woods and deposited it over the right field fence for a 10-0 lead.

The Lady Rockets threw some leather at the Viqueens in the home half of the inning, beginning with a great backhand grab and shoot to first by Cook at short.

Stinnett whiffed the next batter and the inning ended on a pop-up behind the plate to Rotchford, who made a pretty play on the wind blown ball.

Forrest added two more unearned runs in the top of the fourth on runs scored by Mandi Conley and Warlick.

Herron came into the ballgame for Stinnett and continued the mastery over the Viqueen batters, setting down the side in order.

Herron and Jordan had RBI hits in the fifth inning, making it a 14-0 ballgame.

In the fifth, Megan Reid led off with a sharp single to center, breaking up the perfect game and no-hitter.

Herron struck out the next two batters before Community got on the board with an RBI triple by Corrie Ann Hickerson.

The run-rule game ended when Herron blew three pitches by Kayla Freeman.