Forrest fumbles away golden opportunity

Thursday, May 27, 2010
Forrest's standout Shelby Stinnett (24-3) was the tough luck loser on Wednesday night, giving up just four hits and zero earned runs in the Lady Rockets' disappointing 5-2 loss to South Fulton. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets were in control and on their way to sitting in the cat bird's seat, leading South Fulton 2-0 in the fifth inning in the second round of the Blue Cross Spring Fling before the wheels fell off of their infield defense, sending last year's state runners-up down into the loser's bracket with a 5-2 loss.

Forrest committed a total of seven errors in the ballgame.

FHS head Coach Becky Cheatham said after the loss, "The main thing is we didn't hit the ball. We had just two hits, two hits. You cannot play a ballgame and have two hits and make errors and expect to win at this level."

Forrest's opponent in the Thursday elimination game will be their old nemesis, Trinity Christian Academy, who came back from an opening round loss on Tuesday for an 11-0 blowout win over Unaka in a loser's bracket contest Wednesday morning.

"We did not want to fall into that hornet's nest, but we have and we have got to come out fighting and take the fight to them and keep it there," said Cheatham. "We told them after the game that we have been there and we know it can be done. It is a matter of everybody's got to make that commitment and we have got to leave it all out there or we will be done."

Forrest scored two unearned runs of their own in the bottom of the first, beginning with Chelsea Johnson getting on base on an error and advancing all the way to third when the Devilettes compounded their mistake with a throwing error.

Caitlyn Rotchford bounced a ball to second that was misplayed by South Fulton, allowing Johnson to score.

Rachel Curtis bangs a first inning RBI single to center in Forrest's 5-2 loss to South Fulton.

Shelby Stinnett sacrificed Rotchford's courtesy runner Kaitlin Toombs to second and Rachel Curtis knocked Toombs home with an RBI single to center.

Stinnett was in control, allowing just one hit through the first four innings when her defense caved in, committing five errors in the top of the fifth inning.

South Fulton sent ten batters to the plate, scoring five unearned runs on the five infield errors and three hits.

In the bottom of the inning with two outs, the skies opened up over Starplex, sending the teams and the fans scurrying for cover in a 47 minute rain delay.

After the delay, Devilette hurler Haley McKinney took the momentum her team had given her with the five run fifth and sailed on home, retiring six out of the next seven Lady Rockets in the remainder of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to secure the win.

McKinney also had a solid day at the plate, going 2-3 with an RBI in the fateful fifth inning.

The game ended when Whitney Stofel grounded a hot shot back to South Fulton shortstop Kayla Davidson, who stepped on the second base bag, forcing Jordan who had led off the inning with a hit and fired to first for the game clincher.

Curtis and Jordan had the only two hits for Forrest and Stinnett took the tough luck loss, leaving her just two innings of work shy of setting the all-time mark for career innings pitched in state tournament competition.

The 126 inning career mark was set by Brentwood's Kaci Clark from 1989-1992.