Forrest title run halted in 3rd round

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Katie Warrick (55) drills her 15th home run of the season in the first inning versus Columbia Academy at the TSSAA Spring Fling. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets, flying the Marshall County flag as the final county team standing last week at the TSSAA Spring Fling in Murfreesboro had their hopes of a second Class-A title squashed in a 7-4 third-round loss to Columbia Academy.

"I am very proud of them and proud of their accomplishments this year and I am just so sorry we didn't accomplish our goal of a state championship," said Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham. "I just enjoyed every minute of it this season and I wanted so badly, for them to accomplish their goals and I just love this group."

It was the ninth sate tournament appearance in 13 seasons for Cheatham and the Lady Rockets, who finished with a stellar 31-9 record, including District 9-A and Region 5-A tournament titles.

Aiming at 2015

"We gave ourselves a shot, but we just didn't get it done, so we will go back to work and shoot for that same goal next year," said Cheatham. "We have asked a lot of people to do a lot of different things this year and these girls have been appreciative and have done everything we have asked them to do and that speaks volumes about the Chapel Hill community and Forrest softball, I just can't say enough good things about them."

Sara Jordan (11), who will go on to play softball at Volunteer State Community College next year, bangs a base hit versus Columbia Academy.

The Forrest players, coaching staff, and fans gave a fond farewell after the game to seniors Sara Jordan, Liz "The Eraser" Daughrity, and Sydney Strasser.

"I am so sorry for them, we are losing three seniors and we are going to miss them, there is no doubt," said Cheatham. "But, they are going to go on and be successful at whatever they choose to do and they will be back to see us, hopefully this time next year."

Warrick HR

Katie Warrick, who slammed a school record 15 homeruns this season for a Forrest squad that set a team record with 46 long bombs, led off the loser's bracket contest versus Columbia Academy with one of her prototype deep blasts over the left field fence.

Warrick started in the circle for the Lady Rockets and got out of a bases loaded two-out jam in the bottom of the first, escaping on a ground ball to Lainey Mays at shortstop.

There was no scoring in the second inning and Forrest did not score in the top of the third, but in the home half of the frame, the Lady Bulldogs broke out in front on RBI base knocks by pitcher Baylee Terranova and Anna Young, making it a 2-1 contest.

In the top of the fourth it was Terranova's turn to escape a mess as she powered her way out of a bases loaded, two-out jam with an inning ending strikeout.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Anna Katherine White led off with a double to right field and after a ground ball out to third base, Sabrina Gilliam bashed a homerun, putting CA up 4-1.

Forrest ties it up

It was never give up, never give in time for Forrest and Jordan got things moving with a leadoff base hit in the top of the fifth inning.

Emma Stacey came in to run for Jordan, who took over for Warrick in the circle in the fourth inning.

Lainey Mays (77) is all smiles as she rounds third base after hitting her first home run of the season, a game-tying blast in the fifth inning.

Samantha King drew a walk before Terranova got a pop-up for the first out, but Mays clicked on the drama switch, crushing a two-strike pitch over the left field fence, tying the game at 4-4 and keeping the Lady Rockets' title hopes alive.

The Lady Bulldogs did not score in the bottom of the inning and Forrest did not get a base runner on in the top of the sixth.

CA takes off

Caitlyn Carter led off the home half of the sixth with a base hit for CA and after Jordan struck out the next batter, Jordan Brown belted a deep homerun over the center field fence, making it 6-4.

Sydney Sproul followed with a base hit to left and wound up on third base on an outfield error by Forrest and Sproul walked home when Shelby Cummins slashed a hit to left field, giving CA a 7-4 lead.

Forrest was down to their last three outs and a grounder to third put CA two outs away from victory, but King singled to left field for the Lady Rockets, keeping a glimmer of hope alive.

Forrest left fielder Amanda Patterson (8), along with center fielder Kiyoko Puca (14) and right fielder Samantha King (16) have some fun between innings at the Spring Fling in Murfreesboro.

It was not to be for Forrest as a pop-up to the catcher was followed by the final out of the game, ending the Lady Rockets' season.

Tourney action

Columbia Academy would go on to beat Huntingdon 15-2 in the next round, but the lady Bulldogs were eliminated in the loser's bracket final when they lost a close 8-7 ballgame to Knoxville Grace.

Grace was tough, but not tough enough for Gordonsville, who came away with a 3-0 shutout in the championship game on Friday.

In one of the most dominant single performances of all-time in state tournament softball, Gordonsville pitcher Cori Jennings tossed 28 innings of scoreless ball as the Lady Tigers outscored their opponents 21-0 in four games.

Jennings only surrendered seven hits in the four games, while walking just one batter and striking out 36.