Lady Rockets blank Raiderettes in 9-A title game
The dominance continues for the Forrest Lady Rockets over their District 9-A opponents as they pulled off a clean sweep of the district tournament, winning all three games they played by a combined score of 31-4, capped off by an 8-0 win over upstart Moore County in the title clincher Wednesday night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill.
"That was pretty convincing and I am very pleased about that," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham after the game. "It was truly a team effort."
The Raiderettes reached the finals with a last-inning, 4-3 come-from-behind win over Cascade in the loser's bracket final.
Forrest (24-6) will host Jo Byrns in the first round of the Region 5-A Tournament on Monday at 6:30 p.m., while the Raiderettes travel north to take on District 10-A champs East Robertson.
Moore County had a chance to get the early momentum, getting two runners on with two outs in the top of the first inning and actually touching home plate with the game's first run until a successful appeal by Cheatham on a runner leaving early from third base on a sacrifice fly was upheld to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Sara Jordan led off with a base on balls and Courtney Hollandsworth followed with a bunt single before Adrean Jordan knocked home sister Sara with a double to right field.
Forrest ace hurler and District 9-A MVP Brooke Herron pulled off a rare four-strikeout second inning and FHS did not score in their at-bat in the frame.
Herron faced big trouble in the third, walking Emily Powell and giving up back-to-back singles to Sierra Bateman and Kayla Camp to load the sacks before showing her mettle.
The senior righty whiffed the next Raiderette batter for out number one, induced a short fly ball to Jessica Harmon in left for the second out, and got out of the mess with a huge strikeout to end the inning.
Herron and her teammates responded in a big way, scoring five times in the bottom of the inning to open up a wide gap at 6-0.
Hollandsworth reached on a one-out error and one batter later, another Moore County infield miscue on a Herron ground ball allowed Hollandsworth to score from second base.
Alli Bennett came in to run for Herron and Kiyoko Puca beat out an infield grounder to keep the rally going.
Savannah Brothers sent both runners across home plate when she lashed a two-strike pitch to the center-field fence, making it a 4-0 ballgame.
Ciara Cook reached on another Moore County bobble before Cheatham inserted Liz Daughrity as pinch hitter and the sophomore came up huge with a two-run single to left, essentially putting the game out of reach at 6-0.
"That was awesome for Liz (Daughrity) for her to come in as a pinch hitter and blow the game open," said Cheatham. "And Brothers, I was looking for that, she really knows how to come through in the clutch."
Herron allowed just one Moore County batter to reach base over the next three innings, and in the top of the seventh, Forrest added two more insurance runs to the tally sheet.
Hollandsworth started the rally with a one-out single and Adrean Jordan and Herron followed with base hits to load the bases for Puca, who patiently worked a 3-2 count before taking ball four for an RBI.
Brothers drove in Adrean Jordan with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 8-0, sending the Raiderettes to their final at-bat of the game.
Mariah Ward singled to keep hope alive for Moore County before Herron got a ground ball to Adrean Jordan at first for the first out.
The Lady Rockets threw the leather at the Raiderettes to finalize the shut-out as Cook and Harmon made great outfield catches in succession to end the game and give Forrest the hardware.
Herron (23-3) recorded her eighth shutout of the season in the five-hit, eight-strikeout, one-walk blanking over Moore County and went 1-4 at the dish.
"That was MVP worthy wasn't it?" said Cheatham. "Especially to hold them when they had the bases loaded and no outs, that was great."
Hollandsworth turned in a 2-3 plate performance with a base on balls and a run scored, Adrean Jordan continued her hot hitting, going 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI, Puca went 2-3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base, while Brothers drove home three and scored once in a 1-3 night.
Daughrity finished with the one big two-run hit, Cook had one hit, but reached base all three times she was up and stole three bases and scored once and Harmon rounded out the offensive attack with one hit in three at-bats.
Herron (MVP), Hollandsworth, Cook, Adrean Jordan, and Katie Warrick were all named to the All-District Team after the contest.