Brothers hit sends Forrest to finals
After sweeping through the District 9-A Tournament, the Forrest Lady Rockets faced a stiff opponent in Nashville Christian School Monday night in the opening round of the Region 6-A Tournament at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill and the hometown girls needed every ounce of desire they could muster in a dramatic 8-7 win in eight innings.
"What we have been telling them all year is everybody has to make a contribution for us to win and I think I can safely say that they all contributed tonight," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "I am extremely proud of the fact that they didn't give up when we got down, they had every chance to, but they hung in there and kept their heads up and you saw what happened."
Savannah Brothers provided the final heroics in the victory, knocking in Lainey Mays with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning to seal the win and a berth in the region title game versus Houston County Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.
"That just goes to show you, you don't have to be the number three, four, five hitter in the lineup, when it's your time, you have to get the job done," said Cheatham. "And Lainey Mays and Savannah got the job done tonight, so kudos to them."
Forrest and the Lady Irish, who defeated Moore County 1-0 in the other Region 6-A semifinal, are also guaranteed spots in Saturday's state sectional round where a win secures a spot in the Blue Cross Spring Fling next week.
"They (Nashville Christian) played a great ballgame," said Cheatham. "I talked to some people up north and they said, 'they will not give up' and I told our girls tonight they can not let up if we get ahead and somehow we managed to let up and saw what happened, so hopefully we can learn from that and not repeat that mistake again."
The winner of Wednesday night's championship game will host the runner-up from Region 5-A in sub-state, while the loser will have to travel to the home of the top seed.
Forrest had control of the Lady Eagles early in Monday's contest, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after two innings.
Liz "The Eraser" Daughrity drove home the game's initial run in the first inning, and in the bottom of the second, an RBI single by Piper Elmore made it two-zip before District 9-A MVP Katie Warrick drilled a three-run shot to put Forrest up by the five-nil margin.
The Lady Eagles fought back, scoring three times in the top of the third inning as Kayla Baker, Faith Martin, and Katie Cain all drove home a teammate in the frame.
Nashville Christian hurler Abbie Page worked her way out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the home half of the third, and in the top of the fourth, the Lady Eagles took a 7-5 lead thanks to a grand slam home run by Kaitlyn Graham.
Page set down Forrest 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and Warrick, who started in the circle for Forrest, had little trouble in the top of the fifth inning.
Forrest could not score in the home half of the inning and Sara Jordan came to the circle for the Lady Rockets in the top of the sixth and mowed down three consecutive Lady Eagles' batters.
Warrick led off the bottom of the sixth with her second home run of the contest on a two-strike pitch and, two batters later, Daughrity followed suit, drilling a two-strike pitch by Page over the right-field fence, tying the game at 7-7.
Jordan was strong in the seventh, sending the Lady Eagles back to the field after three batters and in the bottom of the inning, Forrest had a chance to win the game as they had the bases loaded and two outs, but Page got out of the jam on a groundball to Graham at third, who calmly threw to home for the inning-ending force-out.
In the top of the eighth, the Lady Eagles took themselves out of a scoring opportunity with a base-running mistake and in the home half of the inning, Mays reached on a one-out error before Brothers came through in the clutch, lining the game-winning hit to left field.
Jordan picked up the win in the circle for Forrest and went 1-5 at the plate.
'Be the hero'
"The only thing in my head was 'be the hero, be the hero,'" said Brothers. "This feels amazing, I didn't want to quit, I wanted to keep us going and go to state, so I had to get a hit right there."
The Lady Rockets banged out 17 hits in the contest with Warrick leading the offense once again, going a perfect 4-4 at the plate with a pair of home runs, a base on balls, four RBIs, and two runs scored.
Brothers (3-5, RS, RBI) had three hits in the game, while Jordan Yelensky (2-4, sac bunt, RS), Elmore (2-4, RS, RBI), and Daughrity (2-5, RS, 2RBIs) all had a pair of base knocks in the win.
Samantha King (1-3, 2BB), Mays (1-4, RS), and Amanda Patterson (1-2, two sac bunts) all managed one hit for Forrest.
Forrest (28-7) and Houston County (24-9) have met five times in the post-season with the Lady Rockets winning four of the match-ups, including the region title game in 2009.