Big inning gives Lady Rockets upper hand
The Forrest Lady Rockets scored five runs in the first inning versus host Cascade Monday night and it held up for a 5-1 win, giving head coach Becky Cheatham's top seeded squad the upper hand in the District 9-A Tournament.
Cheatham said after the win, "We had a great first inning which is what we have been after. We are not communicating very well. We want a great first inning, great second inning and so forth. We got those five runs and we were satisfied."
With rain falling and temperatures in the February range, FHS senior Shelby Stinnett used all of her guile and experience to fend off the weather conditions and a pesky Lady Champion squad, improving her season record to 20-1.
"I think the weather affected us, but we can't make excuses," said Cheatham. "We didn't run the bases well and I don't feel we were patient enough at the plate. Hopefully, we will fix those things and come back stronger Thursday night. We'll just hang in there and hope things get better."
Stinnett struck out 10 Lady Champs, walked two, gave up four hits, and surrendered her first earned run scored by a district opponent in five years.
Cascade's Sara Edwards broke the Stinnett streak with an RBI triple in the fifth inning that scored Heather Morris, who had singled with one out.
The Lady Rockets looked like they were in for an offensive explosion from the get-go, putting up five runs in the first inning with two outs.
Chelsea Johnson walked, leading off the bottom of the first before Cascade hurler Leigha Carter got the first out on a pop-up.
Stinnett and Rachel Curtis followed with singles, loading the sacks.
Carter induced a pop-up to first base for the second out and looked like she would escape until Caitlyn Rotchford bounced a ball into the shortstop hole, scoring Johnson.
Brooke Herron and Whitney Stofel added back-to-back two-run doubles, extending the Forrest lead to 5-0.
The rain fell and the temperatures dropped, making it hard on Stinnett and Carter in the circle who both did a tremendous job battling the conditions.
Forrest had a chance again in the second, beginning with a ground-rule double by Courtney Hollandsworth and a single by Stinnett that gave the Lady Rockets second and third with one out.
Carter got out of it nicely, inducing two straight weak pop-ups.
There was no offense in the third or fourth.
Cascade's one run in the fifth could have been more as Lady Champion base runners stood on second and third with two outs, but Stinnett grabbed a hot shot back to the mound for the third out and was in complete control over the next two innings for the complete game win.
Forrest (23-4) gets two days of practice and rest before championship night on Thursday at 6:30 pm in Wartrace and need just one victory for the league tournament title.