Forrest opens Blue Cross Spring Fling with 4-2 win
The Forrest Lady Rockets returned to the Blue Cross Spring Fling after a one-year absence and made the most of their opening round game, defeating the 2011 Class-A runners-up Grace Baptist Academy 4-2.
Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham said about her squad's win, "It's good to be here and get the first one out of the way. I think we may have had a little first-game jitters going in, but we are still good and we have to come back tomorrow and get down to business again."
Forrest senior hurler Brooke Herron continued her stellar post-season play, going the distance for the win in the circle and drove home the eventual game-winning run in the decisive three-run fifth inning.
In the circle, Herron (26-4) scattered eight hits, while striking out six and walking one Lady Golden Eagles' batter.
At the dish, Herron went 2-4 with the two big ribbies in part of a nine-hit Lady Rocket attack off Grace Baptist hurler Tori Helton.
Freshman Savannah Brothers made the most of her state tournament debut, going 2-3 with a pair of RBIs.
Senior first sacker Adrean Jordan also had two hits in four at bats, plus kept the big fifth inning alive when she knocked the ball out of Grace Baptist's catcher Reagan Schrader's mitt when it looked like she would be easily tagged out at home on Herron's base hit.
Both squads squandered scoring opportunities early in the contest before Forrest broke through with the game's first run in the bottom of the third inning.
Courtney Hollandsworth walked with one out to get things going and Herron kept the rally alive with a two-out single to center before Brothers broke the deadlock with an RBI base hit to left field.
Helton helped her own cause when she drilled a one-out homerun over the centerfield fence in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1.
"I think she (Herron) missed a spot on that one, but if we hit the ball we can afford to miss one once in a while as long as we keep getting people on base," said Cheatham.
The game went to the bottom of the fifth and once again it was Hollandsworth who started the rally with a leadoff single up the gut.
Adrean Jordan followed with a double off the fence in left/center before Herron drilled a base hit to left field.
Hollandsworth scored easily on the play, but Jordan was trapped between third and home before deciding to make an attempt to score and she did, knocking the ball out of the waiting glove of Schrader.
Brothers made it hurt for the Chattanooga private school when she followed with a scorching RBI base knock down the left field line to open up a 4-1 Lady Rockets' lead.
The Lady Eagles rallied in the top of the sixth, putting across an unearned run before Herron got out of the jam on a ground ball out to Hollandsworth at second.
Forrest had an opportunity for some insurance runs in the bottom of the inning, but left two-on with one out.
Herron singlehandedly conjured up the first two outs in the top of the last inning, snaring two consecutive hot shots back to the circle.
Brittany Cowart kept the game alive with a two-out single before Herron whiffed the next batter to end the game, giving Forrest (28-7) the all-important first round win and a Wednesday night date with the defending Class-A state champions Decatur County Riverside Lady Panthers (41-5), who run-ruled University School 15-0 Tuesday night.