Lady Rockets win season opener 9-1

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Freshman Katie Warrick (7) is greeted by her teammates at home plate after she drilled a two-run homer in the third inning of the Lady Rockets' 9-1 season opening win over Eagleville in Chapel Hill Monday night. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets, coming off their first season in five years with no state tournament appearance, started the 2011-2012 campaign off with a bang, shellacking Eagleville 9-1 Monday night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill.

"We are not satisfied with our mental intensity," said FHS head coach Becky Cheatham after the game. "We have a lot of improvement that we need to make. I thought we had made some over the past week, but I am not happy with where we have begun, so we have a lot of work to do."

After Forrest senior Brooke Herron hurled a scoreless top of the first inning, Ciara Cook manufactured a speed induced run in the bottom of the frame when she walked, stole second and third base and trotted home on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt RBI by Sara Jordan.

Herron struck out the side in order in the second inning, but Forrest could not take advantage in the home half when Kiyoko Puca put pressure on the Eagleville defense with some more speed after the Lady Eagles were unable to field a bunt up the third base line with one out, but Puca was stranded at second base when the inning ended on a fly ball to center.

Herron set down Eagleville 1-2-3 in the third with two strikeouts, and in the bottom of the third, freshman Katie Warrick drilled a two-out, two-run homer over the center field fence to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

"I was pleased with Katie when she got that big hit that sparked us," said Cheatham.

In the fourth, Herron gave up a leadoff walk to Courtney Marlin.

Marlin stole second and went to third on an infield grounder, but was still standing on the third base bag when the inning ended on consecutive strikeouts.

In the bottom of the inning, Forrest broke the game wide open, scoring four times to take a commanding 7-0 lead.

Jessica Harmon started the four-run rally with a slap single to left field, Cook legged out an infield hit, and Courtney Hollandsworth made it bases loaded when she beat the throw to first on a bunt.

After a pop-up to short for the first out, Adrean Jordan walked to score Harmon, and one pitch later, Cook zipped home on a passed ball to up the FHS lead to 5-0.

Eagleville got the second out on a 5-2 put-out at home plate, but Herron put the game on ice with a two-run triple into the gap in right field.

Herron was replaced in the circle by Warrick in the top of the fifth.

Herron finished her four scoreless, one-hit innings with eight strikeouts and one base on balls.

A leadoff single by Ashley Tidwell, followed by a Forrest fielding miscue at shortstop made it two-on with no outs before Warrick retired the next three Lady Eagles in order to end the inning unscathed.

Harmon punched a one-out single to left in the bottom of the fifth and Hollandsworth reached on a base hit one out later.

Harmon would score on a passed ball and Hollandsworth would cross home with Forrest's final run on an RBI base knock by freshman Briar Mays.

In the top of the sixth, Warrick drilled three straight Eagleville batters with one out, before the unearned run crossed home on a Forrest infield error to break-up the shutout.

The game went to the bottom of the seventh where a leadoff walk and another FHS infield miscue put two runners on base, but Warrick recorded the last out of the ballgame on a strikeout.

Hollandsworth, Warrick, Herron, and Harmon (2 runs scored, 1 stolen base) all had two hits for Forrest, while Cook (2 stolen bases, 2 runs scored), Sara Jordan (1 run, 1 RBI), Mays, and Savannah Brothers recorded one base knock apiece.

Adrean Jordan scored twice after being hit by a pitch and reaching on a base on balls in three at bats.

The Lady Rockets will be back in action when the host Independence on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

"We won't be successful playing stronger teams with our mental intensity," said Cheatham. "I don't like taking called third strikes and I wasn't pleased at all with our defensive intensity."