Forrest fizzles in region final

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Seniors Rachel Curtis (1) and Shelby Stinnett (16), who both graduate on Saturday slap hands before the start of the Region 5-A championship game won by East Robertson 6-1, marking the last time that Curtis and Stinnett will play on the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill. Tribune photo by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets managed just three hits and one lone run off of East Robertson pitcher Kelsi Mason, who got plenty of offensive support from her Lady Indian teammates in a 6-1 win in the Region 5-A title game in Chapel Hill Wednesday night.

Forrest and East Robertson have met five out of the last six years in the region championship game with the Lady Rockets winning three times and the Lady Indians winning twice.

"That ticks me off, but you know what, there was not a whole lot I could do about that tonight." said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "We did not hit the ball and we did not play well defensively. We have got to bring some intensity and play our best game on Friday or we are done."

The Lady Rockets will travel to Summertown Friday night for the Class A sectional game, while East Robertson hosts Loretto, who lost to Summertown 3-1 in the Region 6-A championship.

Cheatham said about Summertown, "I saw them last night hit two up in the trees out in centerfield. Shelby has got to pitch her best game, we have got to play our best game defensively and we have got to get an offensive output from everybody."

In 2007 Forrest was beaten 7-3 by the Lady Indians in the region final and came back with a 6-5 win at Columbia Academy in a sectional match-up on their way to a state runner-up finish.

In Wednesday's game at the Field of Dreams, East Robertson banged out 10 hits with first baseman Brieanna Buckman doing the most damage at the dish versus Forrest's Shelby Stinnett, going 2-4 with a homerun and three RBI's.

Buckman drilled a second inning leadoff homerun, sparking a four run inning for the Lady Indians that Forrest never recovered from.

Buckman also drove in run number five in the third inning, driving in Erica Casey who had led off the inning with a single to right and advanced to second base on a bobble in the outfield.

Mason was superb, tossing a perfect game until Korisa Warlick reached on an error with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Forrest could not muster a run on the miscue as Mason retired the next two Lady Rockets without much trouble.

In the top of the fifth East Robertson tacked on an unearned and it was Buckman driving in the run again on a fielder's choice RBI, scoring Walton Illges, who had reached on the Forrest infield miscue.

With two outs in the bottom of the frame, Brooke Herron broke up Mason's no-hit bid with a solid single to right field, but Forrest could not capitalize and the game went to the sixth.

The Lady Indians got two on with one out, looking to open the gap even wider, but Stinnett struck out two Lady Indians in order to end the inning.

Mason maintained her superiority in the circle, setting down Forrest 1-2-3 in the home half of the stanza.

Stinnett did not allow a run in the top of the seventh and then led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right field, giving her teammates a late boost.

Sara Jordan came in to run for Stinnett and went to second on a ground ball out.

Adrean Jordan reached on an infield error, putting the Jordan sisters on first and third.

Cheatham sent Adrean Jordan on the steal from first and East Robertson elected to go for the out, nailing her, but Sara Jordan came home the play, making it a 6-1 ballgame.

The Lady Rockets were down to their last out and Caitlyn Rotchford extended the game when she was hit by a Mason pitch.

Herron came up and reached on an infield single, but the game ended on a ground ball to Buckman at first, giving East Robertson the Region 5-A title.

Forrest played the contest without sophomore second sacker Courtney Hollandsworth, who suffered a freak pre-game injury that caused a deep cut on her head requiring three stitches.

Asked if Hollandsworth's absence from the lineup affected her team, Cheatham said, "I am sure it did even though we knew by the time the game started she was ok, but I think anytime at this point in the season when you mess with the lineup it affects them mentally. They may say it doesn't, but I think it does."

Hollandsworth is expected back for Friday night's sectional game.