Lady Rockets get revenge, host Raiderettes for 5-A title
Two years ago in the Region 5-A semifinal, Houston County handed Forrest a tough 1-0 season-ending loss at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill, causing the Lady Rockets to look at a ball from that game, hanging in or around the dugout all last season, before burying the yellow sphere somewhere under the turf in Chapel Hill after a huge 10-2 win over District 10-A's Jo Byrns in last year's region opener.
On Monday, the Lady Rockets got their full revenge, outscoring the Lady Irish from Erin 9-7 to advance to the Region 5-A championship on Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. when they host D9-A foe Moore County, who won a 3-1 thriller at East Robertson.
"That was a shootout, but I was a little disappointed that we gave up seven runs and I feel like we gave them some of those seven," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "But, we got enough to win, hopefully we learned, and we will be able to move forward and do better Wednesday."
Revenge will be on Forrest's mind once again, not forgetting a 7-2 loss to the Raiderettes in last year's region title tilt.
"I will take that any day, than having to travel to East Robertson," said Cheatham. "We know a little bit more about Moore County."
This will be the fifth meeting between the two squads this season with Forrest winning the last three in a row, including last week's district championship game.
Forrest never trailed versus Houston County, but had to hold on a couple of times in the game.
Eighth-grader Samantha King got things going early, knocking in Savannah Brothers in the second inning to open the scoring.
Sara Jordan held Houston County scoreless through three innings and in the bottom of the third, Forrest added two more runs on a two-run double by Katie Warrick, making it three-zip.
The Irish fought back, scoring two unearned runs in the top of the fourth with Kayla Clark notching an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
In the home half of the frame, Forrest busted the game wide open, tallying six runs to take a stranglehold on the contest.
Jessica Harmon got things started with a leadoff infield hit before King sacrificed her senior teammate to second.
Kiyoko Puca drew a base on balls and Lainey Mays followed with a base hit to left, loading the bases.
Kelsey Darnell worked an RBI base on balls before Warrick laced a two-run double to left, scoring Puca and Mays.
Jordan followed with another base hit, scoring Darnell, and Warrick crossed the plate on an error, making it 8-2.
Margaret Bryan, running for Jordan, came home with the Lady Rockets' final run on an RBI fielder's choice by Liz Daughrity.
Once again, Houston County came back, scoring five times in the top of the fifth to cut the Forrest lead to 9-7.
Morgan Laxton provided the big blow with a bases-clearing double and Clark added a two-run, two-bagger.
Jordan had seen enough in the circle, retiring the Lady Irish in order in the sixth and seventh innings to secure the win and at least two more games for Forrest (19-7).
Jordan gave up five earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six, walking two, and hitting one Houston County batter.
Warrick led the offensive attack, going 3-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Darnell went 2-2 with two bases on balls, two runs scored, an RBI, and a stolen base.
Mays (1-4, RS), Jordan (1-4, RBI), Brothers (1-3, RS, RBI), Harmon (1-3, RS), and King (1-2, sac bunt, RBI) all had one hit in the contest.
"I was pleased with the bats, we didn't pop-up and we were able to do the things we worked on," said Cheatham. "I am very pleased overall."