King shuts down Huntland in spirited fight
Sometimes, those big games just don’t turn out to be as exciting as anticipated.
That was not the case Monday night at the Field of Dreams when the Lady Hornets travelled to Chapel Hill for a re-match of a highly confrontational game won by Forrest 3-2 at Huntland on April, 20.
The Lady Rockets, coming off back-to-back losses on Saturday in the Coffee County Classic were ready as always and played one of their best games of the season in a 4-1 win over the Lady Hornets.
“It was a good ballgame and it’s nice to come out with a ‘W’,” Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. “We played well enough to win, played better than they did and we knew we were capable of getting the job done, so we are glad to get that one behind us and get to our next job.”
Forrest’s lone senior Samantha King ruled the circle, giving up one unearned run on just one hit, while striking out six and walking two Huntland batters in the contest.
Laura Mealer, who didn’t play over the weekend at Manchester because of illness returned with a vengeance as the Forrest eighth-grader went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, including a game-clinching two-run moonshot homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After committing a series of fielding miscues over the weekend, the Lady Rockets threw some serious leather at the Lady Hornets with outstanding defensive plays the entire game on Monday.
The great defensive tone was set early as left fielder Katlin Leverette made a diving catch for the first out of the game.
“It’s always those little things,” Cheatham said. “If you take care of those little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”
Huntland hurler Ali Golden went toe-to-toe with King much of the night, but after striking out the first two Forrest batters in the bottom of the third inning, Leverette slammed a wind-aided triple to the left field fence.
On a two-strike pitch to Zoe Long, the next Golden toss got past the Huntland catcher and Leverette raced home to make it 1-0.
Long banged a single to left field after the score and proceeded to steal second base before plating Forrest’s second run on an RBI base hit by Carson Warner.
With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Huntland’s Courtney Frame drew a base on balls and then took off on a steal attempt to second base where Mealer came up with an across the bag circus tag to end the inning.
Mealer stroked a leadoff single in the home half of the inning and stole second base, but Golden retired the next three Forrest hitters in order to squash the scoring threat.
Defense was the name of the game in the top of the fifth as Forrest second baseman Kayla Gillespie scooped up a tough chance and got the first out, King struck the next batter and the Lady Rockets’ ultimate utility player, Jasmine Runk made a diving stab at first base for the third out.
Forrest left another baserunner on in the bottom of the inning before Huntland rallied in the top of the sixth, beginning with a base on balls to Camille Bland.
Golden came up with an infield hit for Huntland’s first safety before a 6-4 fielder’s choice put Lady Hornet baserunners on the corners.
King induced a groundball to short that looked like a potential double play, but the ball was bobbled and a run scored, making it a 2-1 contest.
King got the second out on a grounder back to the circle and Runk scooped up a ground ball for the final out to end the inning.
In the home half of the stanza, King came up with a leadoff double to left field before Mealer fired a bazooka shot deep over the center field fence to give the Lady Rockets a 4-1 lead.
King whiffed the first two batters in the top of the seventh before the game ended on a ground ball to Kayla Gillespie at second.
Forrest (31-3) played at Community and host’s MTCS tonight in the final regular season game before the District 9A Tournament commences at Eagleville where the Lady Rockets will defend a long list of tournament titles as the number-one seed.
“We have Unionville tomorrow and Middle Tennessee Christian coming in here and then will be ready to get the district tournament fired up,” Cheatham said.
Huntland 000 001 0-1 1 1
Forrest 002 002 X-4 7 3
Huntland: Ali Golden 1-for-3
BB: Courtney Frame, Camille Bland
CS: Courtney Frame
LP: Ali Golden (6IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 7K, 0BB)
Forrest: Laura Mealer 3-for-3, Katlin Leverette 1-for-2, Zoe Long 1-for-3, Carson Warner 1-for-3, Samantha King 1-for-3
RBI: Mealer 2, Warner
HBP: Emma Stacey
RS: Leverette, Long, Mealer, Jenna Blanton
SB: Long, Mealer
E: Ally Blanton 2, Mealer
WP: Samantha King (7IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 6K, 2BB)