Forrest seniors step up, dominate Fayetteville

Friday, March 13, 2015
Forrest's Katie Warrick (55) was focused in Fayetteville Thursday, no-hitting the Lady Tigers and slamming a two-run homer in the Lady Rockets' 13-0 season opening win. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Coming in to the season, Forrest head coach Becky Cheatham wanted her seniors to step up and carry the team on their shoulders.

That is exactly what happened in Thursday's season opener at Fayetteville as seniors Katie Warrick, Kiyoko Puca, and Briar Mayes did heavy damage, with a big helping hand from sophomore Samantha King.

"We were cooped up inside all week," said Puca. "So the whole team got into the mindset that we were going to come over here and do it and we got all hyped about it and just did it."

Warrick tossed a no-hitter in the circle and went 2-3 with a homerun, three RBIs, and two runs scored as the Lady Rockets came out on top in a 13-0 five inning run-rule win.

Forrest third baseman Jordan Yelensky (24) throws out a Fayetteville baserunner in the second inning.

"We did an awesome job, my defense helped me a lot and really picked us up," said Warrick. "Shelby (Forrest assistant coach Shelby Stinnett) told me to tell her what was working, have confidence, don't doubt yourself and that really motivated me to pitch a good game."

And the small ball attack that has been the signature of the Forrest offense for years is back, just as Cheatham predicted.

Puca, a model of resiliency in her career, shook off a first inning strikeout with three hits, three runs scored, and an RBI.

"It feels great, I had a little anxiety that first time up," said Puca. "Katie gave me some motivation after that and told me if I get that bunt it down, I will get there, if I hit it hard I will get there, so that gave me a lot of confidence the rest of the game."

Briar Mays displayed her leadoff skills, starting off the ballgame with a bunt single before coming around to score a hustle run for the only tally Warrick would need on a Fayetteville error.

Briar Mays (44) had one hit and scored three runs in her return to the Lady Rockets lineup after a three-year hiatus.

Mays would reach base and score three out of the four times she came to the dish.

Warrick, last year's District 9-A MVP and UT Martin signee, struck out six Lady Tigers with her only blemish coming on a second inning walk to Taylor Bryan.

King, batting out of the cleanup spot in the batting order, ended up with two hits in four at bats, including a double and two RBIs.

Kiyoko Puca (14) had three hits and scored three runs as Forrest belted Fayetteville.

Forrest took the 1-0 lead to the top of the third inning where Puca led off with a double, before coming around to score when King traded places with her.

Lainey Mays drew a two-out walk and both Mays and King came home on a Fayetteville error, giving the Lady Rockets a 4-0 lead.

Warrick tossed a 1-2-3 inning and once again, Forrest scored three times as Briar Mays walked and came all the way home when Puca executed a perfect bunt and wound up on third base via a Fayetteville throwing error.

Warrick went long ball, drilling the next pitch on a line over the center field fence.

"Shelby was like, just hit a groundball and be smooth with it," said Warrick. "So I relaxed and tried to hit that groundball and it just went out."

The Lady Rockets tacked on six runs in the top of the fifth to make it 13-0 and Warrick set down the Lady Tigers in order in the home half of the inning to complete the no-hitter.

"I have been playing with Katie for five years now it's great and she is just a great teammate in general and a great person, so it is an honor to play behind her."


Forrest: Puca (3-4), Warrick (2-3), King (2-4), B. Mays (1-3), Kelsie Darnell (1-3), Brooke Paul (1-1); RBIs: Warrick 3, King 2, Puca 1; BB: Amanda Patterson 2, B. Mays 1, Warrick 1, Jordan Yelensky 1, L. Mays 1, Piper Elmore 1; RS: B. Mays 3, Puca 3, Warrick 2, King 2, Mays 1, Darnell 1, Elmore 1; Extra base hits: Warrick (HR, 2B), Puca (2B), King (2B).

Fayetteville: BB: Taylor Bryan.