Forrest blasts Summertown, returns to state

Monday, May 18, 2015
Forrest coach Ricky Stinnett (left) gets the Lady Rockets fired up before their sectional game versus Summertown. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

A familiar story played out at Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon as the Forrest Lady Rockets belted Summertown 12-1 in the Class-A sectional round to qualify for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Spring Fling at Murfreesboro, beginning on May 19.

"It was outstanding, we were able to execute what we asked them to do," said Forrest coach Becky Cheatham.

"You are always a little worried coming into a sectional game, you never know if they are a bundle of nerves or not, but they were composed and able to get it done, so we are very proud."

Four-year trend

The current senior class on Forrest has now qualified the last four years and three of the seniors, Katie Warrick, Kiyoko Puca and Savannah Brothers, all eighth-grade varsity players, have made four trips to the state tournament in five years.

"This team, oh my goodness, this is the best chemistry we have ever had, it's so loud in there you can't even here yourself think," said Cheatham. "It's fun and they're a fun group to be around."

The Lady Rockets, Class-A winner in 2008 and runners-up in 2002, 2007, and 2009, have missed just three state tournaments in 14 years.

"I think the sky is the limit and I want them to accomplish every goal they have set for themselves and if they stay focused they can do that," said Cheatham.

"We are going to have to keep our head into what we are doing and make sure we stay rested and hydrated and stay focused on that goal."

Too much power

Briar Mays went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI in Forrest's 12-1 win over the Lady Eagles.

The young Lady Eagles' squad, who did not have a senior on the field against the seasoned girls from Chapel Hill were overmatched as Forrest (31-5) whipped up its lethal combination of the small ball dashers and power hitter bashers that has brought the squad success during the extraordinary 14-year run.

"When we are able to do that, things usually turn out well for us," said Cheatham.

Leadoff extraordinaire Briar Mays and two-hole speedster Kiyoko Puca both had perfect performances at the plate versus Summertown as Mays went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Puca went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a sacrifice bunt.

"I was pleased with our short game today, they got the job done," said Cheatham.

War r ick's day

Katie Warrick, batting in the three hole, drove in five runs in the contest, going 3-for-3 and clean-up batter Samantha King went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Warrick also picked up the win in the circle for the Lady Rockets, tossing six innings of three-hit, shutout ball before Lainey Mays came on in relief in the top of the seventh to finish the job.

"I was so proud of my team for technically run-ruling Summertown in our very last home game on the Field of Dreams," said Warrick. "That was amazing and incredible, but bittersweet."

Quick strike

Forrest wasted little time getting its engines revved up as Mays and Puca beat out infield hits to lead off the bottom of the first inning before Warrick sent them both home with a double into the left/center field gap.

Kiyoko Puca beat out three infield hits in the game, including this bunt single in the fifth inning that had Summertown's defense confused.

In the bottom of the second inning, Amanda Patterson reached on an error to lead off the frame and one out later, Kelsie Darnell singled to left field.

Briar Mays laid down a spinning bunt to score Patterson from third and after rounding first base, Mays got into an intentional rundown as Darnell zoomed home.

Puca singled to right before Warrick roped a double to center field, scoring Puca all the way from first base, making it a 5-0 contest.

Rolling on

Summertown had no solution to Warrick in the circle and the Lady Rockets added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a squeeze bunt RBI by Lainey Mays, an RBI double by Samantha King and a two-run single by Brothers.

Warrick knocked in two more runs in the fifth inning and King finished off the perfect dozen with an RBI double.

'We are a family'

"We have all the chances in the world, we are not only a team, we are a family this year," said Puca

"It wasn't just one of us, it was all of us, even the people in the dugout and all the dads who helped on the field this morning that took 2 hours out of their time, and we really appreciate that."

Kelsie Darnell continued her post-season hot streak at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Summertown came up with its lone run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Raegan Hannah.

"They (Summertown) have got a bright future ahead of them and I'm sure they have some goals set for next year," said Cheatham.

Summertown 000 000 1-1 5 4

Forrest 230 430 x-12 17 2

Summertown: Raegan Hannah 2-for-4, Riley Brazier 1-for-3, Madison King 1-for-3, Josie Franks 1-for-2.

RBI: Raegan Hannah.

Forrest: Briar Mays 4-for-4, Kiyoko Puca 3-for-3, Katie Warrick 3-for-3, Samantha King 2-for-4, Kelsie Darnell 2-for-3, Lainey Mays 1-for-4, Savannah Brothers 1-for-4, Carson Warner 1-for-1.

RBI: Warrick 5, King 2, Brothers 2, Briar Mays 1, Lainey Mays 1.

WP: Katie Warrick

LP: Madison King