The Forrest Lady Rockets made a nice early season showing at the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Brentwood over the weekend, starting with consecutive Friday night victories over Houston High School (1-0) and Hendersonville (3-2).
In the quarterfinals, the Lady Rockets took on the four-time 3A state champion powerhouse Lady Owls from Ooltewah.
The Lady Rockets led 4-2 in the second inning before the Lady Owls swooped back to clip Forrest 8-4 in the elimination round.
Ooltewah would lose the next game 1-0 to the Lady Owls' District 5-AAA archrival and seven-time state title holders Soddy Daisy, who would go on to win the tournament title with a 5-4 win over Baylor.
"I was all in all, a pretty good effort, but we have got to have some people step up," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "We had some good performances by young kids, but some other kids have got to step up in those critical situations."
Forrest got off to a nice start in game one over Houston High School from Germantown, scoring a first inning run as Ciara Cook reached on an error, stole second base, and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Adrean Jordan.
That would be all the help FHS hurler Brooke Herron would need in the ballgame as she shutout the Lady Mustangs the rest of the way, surrendering just two hits, while striking out 11 batters and walking just one.
In the Friday night finale, Herron gave up a first inning RBI double to Hendersonville's Carly Corah, but the Lady Rockets came back with a three-run third inning to take control.
Sara Jordan, Cook, and Herron all drove home runs in the frame for Forrest and Herron closed the door on the Lady Commandos for the win.
On Saturday morning, the Forrest defense went south as they committed seven errors in the 3-0 loss to Baylor.
Katie Warrick was the tough luck loser for the Lady Rockets as all three runs were unearned.
Warrick tossed all five innings in the circle, striking out four and giving up two hits.
Adrean Jordan had two hits and Cook had the only other safety for the Lady Rockets.
It was a long four-hour wait for the Lady Rockets to mull over the sloppy loss to Baylor and the tournament was nearly cancelled because of rain before the skies cleared in Brentwood around 3:30 p.m., allowing the tournament to continue.
Lebanon tied the game in the top of the second on an RBI squeeze bunt by Beth Swartwout before Herron escaped further damage on an inning ending groundout to Warrick at third base.
The Lady Rockets added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth as Herron led off with a double to left center.
Alli Bennett came in to run for Herron and scampered to third on a groundout before scoring on an RBI hit by Jessica Harmon.
On a 3-2 count with the game on the line, Herron tossed a perfect change-up that was popped up back to circle where Herron squeezed the ball to end the well played contest.
In the semifinal match-up versus Ooltewah, Herron gave up two runs in the first inning, but her teammates gave her some nice support one inning later as they scored four times on a run scoring single by Kiyoko Puca and a bases clearing double off the bat of Sara Jordan.
The score remained 4-2 Forrest, entering the bottom of the fourth as Ooltewah's Kelsey Chernak led off with a double and went to third on a wild pitch.
Abby Daniels stepped up and drilled Herron on her pitching hand, forcing the senior to exit the game.
X-Rays later in the night revealed no broken bones and Herron will miss one week before returning to the circle.
A single to left off Warrick by Taylor Baird made it 4-3 and one batter later, Chernak tied the game on a perfect squeeze bunt RBI base hit.
Forrest would commit two infield errors later in the inning that led to two unearned runs to put FHS in a 6-4 hole.
"I think we got rattled there when Brooke got hurt," said Cheatham. "I wish we could have overcome that. I wish we could have been more mentally tough there, because things like that are going to happen."
The Lady Owls tacked on two more unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth and the game ended on three straight infield pop-ups by Forrest in the top of the sixth.
The Lady Rockets (7-3) played a double header versus MTCS on Monday, followed by a match-up versus Moore County on Thursday at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill.
"We have got to work harder to get better, or we will be going backwards," said Cheatham. "We still have a lot of time and if they can take this and build on it, then that will be great. Right now, we have to make sure we take care of business in our district and take what we learned here and build on it and I think we will be ok."
Forrest batting stats
Ciara Cook (3-12, one run scored, one RBI, two stolen bases, sac bunt)
Courtney Hollandsworth (1-12, two runs scored, one base on balls)
Katie Warrick (6-13, two runs scored, two RBIs, one stolen base)
Adrean Jordan (3-10, two runs scored, two RBIs, hit by pitch, sac fly)
Sara Jordan (5-11, two runs scored, four RBIs, sac bunt)
Brooke Herron (3-13, one RBI)
Mandi Conley (1-10, sac bunt)
Jessica Harmon (2-6, one run scored, one RBI)
Kiyoko Puca (2-7, one run scored, one RBI, one hit by pitch)
Briar Mays (1-9)
Liz Daughrity (0-1)
Savannah Brothers (one base on balls)
Alli Bennett (one run scored)
Brooke Herron (3-0), 19 innings pitched, seven earned runs, two walks, 21 strikeouts)
Katie Warrick (0-2), seven innings pitched, seven runs (none earned), no walks, four strikeouts)