Warner walk off clinches 9A title for dominant Lady Rockets
The Forrest Lady Rockets completed a clean sweep of the District 9A Tournament Thursday night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill with the final stroke coming on a two-run, walk off homerun by Carson Warner that capped off an 11-0 five-inning, run-rule win over Community.
“It took us a while to get adjusted because we had been geared up for faster pitching and they brought in a pitcher that was a little slower and it always takes us a little while to get adjusted, so once we settled in and got a little more patient we got the job done,” Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. “I’m really proud of Carson for getting that homerun to end the game, that was very exciting and I’m very happy for her.”
In three tournament games, the explosive Lady Rockets outscored their opponents 29-0 and have not lost to a Class A team this season.
Forrest beat Community 10-0 in the first round and took down Huntland 8-0 on Wednesday.
“We came on just at the right time, we did an outstanding job against the outstanding Huntland (Tara Cates) pitcher we have been working to get on top of and our girls were prepared last night with the mindset that we would not be beaten,” Cheatham said.
Forrest (36-3) plays host to a familiar Region 5A Tournament foe when they entertain Houston County (13-9) at 7 p.m. Monday night in a do-or-die semifinal game.
The Lady Fighting Irish, who lost to East Robertson (18-12) in the District 10A title game have squared off with Forrest seven times in region tournament contests with just one win coming in 2011 when they handed the Lady Rockets a 1-0 season-ending loss at Chapel Hill.
Community played in just its second district tournament title game and travels to Cross Plains in the other R5A semifinal.
“Community played well, they came on just at the right time and I wish them the best of luck and I hope they represent District 9A in fine fashion,” Cheatham said.
The Lady Viqueens did not have an answer for District 9A Offensive MVP and Pitcher of the Year Samantha King, who was masterful in the circle with a one-hit, one walk, and nine-strikeout effort.
“Sam deserves every bit of it, she has worked her tail off for five years,” Cheatham said. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer person or a harder worker, so I hope there are more good things for her to come.”
King struck out the side twice in the five inning contest and thwarted Community’s only scoring chance in the top of the second inning when Lady Viqueen runners stood on second and third base with two outs, only to be sent back to the dugout when King recorded an inning-ending whiff.
Forrest scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a Laura Mealer two-run double that plated Zoe Long and Jenna Blanton.
Long, who had two hits in the game and stole three bases, slapped a one out single and swiped second base before being joined on the base paths by courtesy runner Jenna Blanton after King was hit by a pitch.
Five runs in the bottom of the third inning pushed the score to 7-0 with the big blows coming via a two-run single by Kennedy Gillespie and a pair of RBI base knocks by Long and Mealer.
King induced three consecutive ground ball outs in the top of the fourth inning and Forrest failed to add to its lead in the home half of the stanza.
King’s domination in the circle continued in the top of the fifth inning when she struck out the side in order.
The final inning began with Ally Blanton reaching on a Community error and one-out later, twin sister Anna stroked a base hit.
With two down, Long also reached on an error that scored both Blanton girls to make it 9-0 before Warner sent a rocket deep into the night over the center field fence to end the game.
“I mentioned to Dick (assistant coach Dick Cheatham) last night that sometimes when your coaching and you can’t get the 7-8-9 batters out you really don’t know how to defend that,” Cheatham said. “We are fortunate that we have that, everybody in our lineup has gotten the job done, so we are just looking forward to what comes next.”
Community 000 00-0 1-3
Forrest 205 04-11 12 0
Community: Sydney Segroves 1-for-2
SB: Segroves, Payton Davis
E: Segroves, Gracie Greer, Davis
LP: Gracie Greer (4.2IP, 12H, 11R, 3ER, 0K, 1BB
Forrest: Carson Warner 3-for-4, Laura Mealer 2-for-3, Anna Blanton 2-for-3, Zoe Long 2-for-4, Samantha King 1-for-2, Katlin Leverette 1-for-4, Kennedy Gillespie 1-for-2
2B: Anna Blanton, King, Mealer
HR: Carson Warner
RBI: Mealer 3, Carson Warner 2, Kennedy Gillespie 2, Anna Blanton, Long
BB: Ally Blanton
RS: Long 3, Ally Blanton 2, Leverette, Cason Warner, Caroline Warner, Jenna Blanton, Mealer, Anna Blanton
SAC: Kennedy Gillespie
ROE: Long, Ally Blanton
SB: Long 3, Caroline Warner, Leverette, Mealer
WP: Samantha King (5IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 9K, 1BB)