Independence breaks Forrest win streak

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Forrest third baseman Brooke Paul had two hits for the Lady Rockets, who lost 4-3 to Independence Friday night at Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

On Friday night at Chapel Hill, an inspired 3A Independence Lady Eagles' squad fought back for 4-3 win to break Forrest's 24-game winning streak, dating back to April 18, 2015 when they lost to Hendersonville 7-0 in the Lincoln County Border Battle.

"All losses are bad, but it's not that bad unless you let it define you," Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. "We are going to take this loss, learn from it, improve from the result of it and get better."

1A streak still on

The Class A state title holding Lady Rockets have not lost to a 1A opponent since their season ending loss to Columbia Academy in the 2014 state tournament, a streak of 34 games.

"That's why we play those tough games," Cheatham said. "Number one we play every game to win, number two is about getting experience. We have a bunch of young kids and if we can get some good experience outside the district against good teams, than we should hold our own."

Samantha King started in the circle for Forrest and Taylor Johnson took the yellow sphere for Independence with King staked to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to an RBI base on balls with the bases loaded by Kelsie Darnell, a run scoring single by Emma Stacey and the third run came home on a Lady Eagles' throwing error.

Tied up

Independence struck back quickly, scoring three runs with two outs in the top of the third inning to tie the game up at three apiece.

The visitors had five singles in the rally as Emily Jones, Lauren Pinckard and Briley Hurd all drove home one run apiece for the Lady Eagles, who had nine hits in the contest.

Johnson bore down and retired the Lady Rockets in order over the next three innings and in the top of the sixth inning, Hurd led off with a base hit off Forrest freshman reliever Kayla Gillespie, who came to the circle for King in the top of the fourth inning.

Christy Crews followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt before Savannah Herrick ripped the go-ahead base hit to left field, making it 4-3.

Gillespie escaped any further damage when the Lady Rockets' defense turned an inning ending 6-3-5 double play.

Leadoff hitter Emma Stacey went 1-3 with an RBI versus the Lady Eagles from Thompson Station.

Hopes end

Johnson set down Forrest in order again in the bottom of the sixth and Lauren Gillespie pitched a scoreless top of the seventh for Forrest.

After a groundout for the first out in the home half of the frame, Brooke Paul kept the Lady Rockets alive with a single up the middle, but it was not to be as Johnson induced a grounder to third for the second out and the game ended on a fly ball to Hurd in right field.

"I just told them just now, they strung more hits together and scored more runs; therefore they won the game," Cheatham said. "I took us out of one scoring situation by being aggressive on the bases, but that is our game and will continue to be our game."

Independence 003 001 0-4 9 1

Forrest 030 000 0-3 7 2

Independence: Briley Hurd 2-3, Taylor Johnson 2-3, Savannah Freeman 1-4, Emily Jones 1-3, Lexi Brewer 1-2, Lauren Pinckard 1-3, Christy Crews 1-4, Savannah Herrick 1-2.

RBI: Pinckard 1, Hurd 1, Herrick 1.

Forrest: Brooke Paul 2-3, Emma Stacey 1-3, Jordan Yelensky 1-3, Carson Warner 1-3, Amanda Patterson 1-3, Lauren Gillespie 1-2.

RBI: Stacey 1, Darnell 1.

WP: Taylor Johnson (7IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 1K)

LP: Kayla Gillespie (3IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1K), Samantha King (3IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 4K), Lauren Gillespie (1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K)

Next game: Wednesday, April 13 versus Community, 5:30 p.m.