Forrest lets one slip away versus defending champs

Thursday, May 24, 2012
The Forrest Lady Rockets fell 6-3 to the defending Class A champions Riverside Lady Panthers on Wednesday night, setting up a Thursday morning loser's bracket contest versus Silverdale Baptist Academy. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest went toe-to-toe with the defending Class A state champions Riverside Lady Panthers Wednesday night, but some early mistakes and a bucket load of base runners left stranded in scoring position eventually cost the Lady Rockets a 6-3 loss and a trip to the loser's bracket.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "And Oh man, I don't even want to think about how many base runners we left stranded."

The Lady Rockets had 10 hits in the game, but left the bases loaded twice and runners on second and third once in the contest as they just could not get the big hit at the crucial time.

Courtney Hollandsworth (22) had two hits in four at bats for Forrest in their 6-3 loss to Decatur County Riverside Wednesday night.

Forrest loaded the sacks in the first inning and came away with a goose egg on the scoreboard.

In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Rockets gave Decatur County two runs on back-to-back errors on a pair of routine plays.

"We told them coming in, you cannot make errors and win these big games," said Cheatham.

Forrest got out of a big jam in the bottom of the second, staving off a big inning by Riverside when starting pitcher Brooke Herron recorded an inning ending strikeout with the bases loaded.

Courtney Hollandsworth led off the third inning with a base hit and Adrean Jordan followed with another to get things going.

After Riverside starter Brooke Kennedy recorded a strikeout, Savannah Brothers reached on an error to load the bases.

Forrest finally got on the board when Kiyoko Puca drew a four-pitch walk, but that would be all they would get off Kennedy, who retired the next two batters on a force at home plate and another inning ending whiff.

Riverside made Forrest pay when Bree Linton belted a two-run homerun in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-1 lead.

The Lady Rockets would not quit as they came back with two runs in the top of the fourth on RBIs by Adrean Jordan and Savannah Brothers, but left runners on second and third with a chance to tie or go ahead.

There was no scoring in the fifth and the Lady Rockets went down 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth before Riverside put some distance between themselves and Forrest thanks to a two-run dinger by Lauren Hays to make it a 6-3 ballgame.

Herron drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, but Kennedy retired the next three Lady Rockets in order to end the contest, sending the Forrest (28-8) to an early Thursday morning loser's bracket game versus Silverdale Baptist Academy (20-15).

"I am proud of the way these girls fought and clawed their way back," said Cheatham. "And I think they believe they can do it now, but I don't know what they believed coming in."

Silverdale, who lost to Trinity Christian in round one, stayed alive with a 12-9 over Moore County on Wednesday morning.

"We have been in this very situation before," said Cheatham. "We have got to come in here in the morning more determined than we have ever been and everyone has to contribute. If everybody believes and everybody does what they are supposed to do, it can be done."

A win versus Silverdale will send the Lady Rockets onward to a 5 p.m. game on Thursday night versus the winner of Trinity Christian and Chattanooga Grace, who square off in the second loser's bracket game at noon on Thursday.

Herron suffered just her fifth loss of the season, giving up four earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out seven and walking three in the complete game effort.

Adrean Jordan, Hollandsworth, Ciara Cook, and Brothers all had two hits for Forrest, while Sara Jordan and Jessica Harmon had one base knock apiece.