Forrest road warriors capture 9-A title
The Forrest Lady Rockets, playing their third consecutive road game in three days, banged out 10 hits, but also reached base on six Cascade errors and five walks to come away with a much easier than expected 10-5 win in Wartrace Wednesday night, capturing another regular season District 9-A title that has belonged in the hands of the Chapel Hill girls since the days of the fenceless little softball field in the corner.
"We are proud of that," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "We had a good game tonight, we are proud of finishing first and we are still working to improve."
Cascade freshman starter Summer Carter allowed a single base hit in the top of the first and her counterpart in the circle, Forrest senior Brooke Herron worked her way out of a two-on, two-out jam in the home half when Courtney Hollandsworth snagged a hot shot off the bat of Cari Brown to end the inning.
After two easy ground-ball outs in the top of the second, Savannah Brothers reached on an error before Ciara Cook's speed put pressure on the Lady Champs defense as she bounced a roller back to the circle that was thrown into the right corner, allowing both Forrest base runners to circle the bases for a 2-0 lead.
Herron struck out two of the three Lady Champion batters in the home half of the frame, and in the top of the third, Forrest busted the game wide open.
Once again, a Cascade infield miscue put Sara Jordan on first base and Hollandsworth followed with a single up the gut.
After being fooled by a Carter change-up for strike two, Adrean Jordan got the last laugh on a 3-2 pitch, drilling a towering three-run jack over the center field fence to give the Lady Rockets a 5-0 lead.
"That was huge," said a smiling Cheatham after the game.
Carter would strike out the next three batters in a row to keep the damage limited.
Herron set down Cascade 1-2-3 in the home half of the frame to continue her no-hit bid.
Brothers led off the fourth with a single and Cook made it first and second when she beat out a grounder for a base hit.
Moments later, both Lady Rocket runners moved up on a double steal before Jessica Harmon singled to center, scoring Brothers, but Cook was out at home on the play.
Harmon took off for second and the ball went to the outfield on the throw, but Harmon was also out at home on a nice relay throw by shortstop Alyssa Hoover and big plate block by catcher Heather Hart on the play.
"Coach gave up a couple there by being aggressive on the bases, but I felt like we were in a position like we could right then, so we were going to try it," said Cheatham.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Carter attempted to break up the no-no, but a running basket catch by Kiyoko Puca on the line in right preserved the gem.
Herron whiffed the next Cascade batter and then Carter worker her way out of a bases-loaded, no-out mess in the fifth.
Hart broke up the Herron no-hitter with a clean base hit up the middle, leading off the bottom of the inning and Hoover followed with a double to left to make it second and third.
Herron got the next two outs, but walked Tori Slater to load the bases before Jennifer Molder drilled a two-run single to left field.
The inning ended on a scorching line drive by Kelsey Parker that was snagged by Hollandsworth at second.
In the sixth, Forrest put the icing on the title cake with a four-run inning to go up 10-2.
Adrean Jordan, Herron, Brothers, and Mandi Conley all had RBIs in the frame and Herron was back in form in the bottom of the inning, setting down the Lady Champions in order.
Cascade would not go down without a fight as they loaded the bases on hits by Hoover, Katie Molder, and Jennifer Molder before a pair of Forrest infield errors allowed all three runs to come home, making it 10-5.
"We probably fell off a little bit with our intensity there towards the end, letting them score those," said Cheatham. "But, you can't take anything away from them, they hit the ball, they are a good team, and we will see them next week."
A ground ball back to the circle to Herron ended the game, giving Forrest the title and a first round bye in the district tournament next week in Chapel Hill, beginning Friday night.
Adrean Jordan led the Forrest (19-6, 10-1) offense with a 3-4 night with four RBIs, a walk, and two runs scored, while Sara Jordan, Hollandsworth, Herron, Puca, Brothers, Cook, and Harmon all had one hit apiece in the contest.