King leads Lady Rockets over Houston County

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Forrest senior Samantha King tossed a one-hitter and struck out six batters in the Lady Rockets’ 8-1 win over Houston County Monday night in a Region 5A semifinal at Chapel Hill.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets, behind a one-hit complete game in the circle by senior Samantha King, advanced to their sixth Region 5A championship game in a row with an 8-1 win over Houston County Monday night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill.

“I am happy with the win, but we left too many runners stranded and we did not get the job done hitting behind our runners when they pulled that right fielder over,” Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. “I want us to execute things better and the more you move forward, the more important it is to do those things.”

The two-time Class A state champion Lady Rockets have been to the region championship game 13 out of the last 15 seasons and have an 8-5 record in the title tilts.

Forrest’s opponent on Wednesday night is a very familiar foe as they travel to Cross Plains to take on the East Robertson Lady Indians, who blasted Community 11-1 in the other Region 5A semifinal Monday night.

Forrest (37-3) and East Robertson (21-12) have squared off seven times in the region championship game with the Lady Rockets holding a slim 4-3 mark, including an 8-6 loss last season at Chapel Hill.

King, who didn’t have her best stuff Monday night, still managed to strike out six Lady Irish batters, but walked five in the contest with her only hit surrendered to Sidney Brake with no outs in the sixth inning.

“She (King) did a pretty good job, but walked too many,” Chatham said. “She was off a bit and I’ll accept responsibility for that for not working her hard enough on Friday and Saturday, but she will be back.”

Meanwhile, Forrest banged out 14 hits off Houston County pitcher Bean Baker with Katlin Leverette (RBI, 3B, 2RS) leading the way with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate.

Anna Blanton (RBI, RS, FC), Carson Warner (RBI), Laura Mealer (2RBI, 3B, 2RS, SB), Ally Blanton, and Kennedy Gillespie (RBI, RS, 2BB, SB) all had two hits in the game and Jasmine Runk (BB, FC, SB) had one safety.

Anna Blanton knocks in Forrest’s first run with a fielder’s choice RBI in the bottom of the first inning.

King tossed a scoreless first inning before Forrest scored two runs in the home half of the inning on a fielder’s choice RBI by Anna Blanton and an RBI triple by Mealer.

King walked the Houston County leadoff batter in the top of the second, but she was quickly erased on a 4-3 double by ‘Sweet 16’ birthday twins second baseman Kayla and first baseman Kennedy Gillespie.

Leverette knocked in a run in the home half of the inning to make it 3-0 and King tossed a scoreless fourth.

Katlin Leverette went 3-for-4 in the Lady Rockets’ 8-1 win over Houston County in the Region 5A semifinal.

Forrest, who left 13 runners on base in the game, had the bases juiced with two outs and failed to score in the bottom of the third inning.

King set down the Lady Irish 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth inning before Forrest broke the game wide open with a four-run home half of the stanza.

Warner, King and Kennedy Gillespie all had RBI base knocks and Mealer scored on an error to make it 7-0.

Kennedy Gillespie had two hits in the game and celebrated her 16th birthday with twin sister Kayla.

There was no scoring in the fifth inning and in the top of the sixth, Houston County broke the goose egg on the scoreboard via a fielder’s choice RBI by Bean to make it 7-1.

Mealer scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth to make it 8-1 before King set down the Lady Irish in order in the top of the seventh to secure a spot in the region title game at East Robertson Wednesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.

“We would like to host Friday night,” Cheatham said. “It’s a long road trip and we better go up there (East Robertson) prepared or he (Kevin Evans) will out coach you and we won’t come back with a ‘W’.”

The winner will host Friday night’s Class A sectional game with the loser travelling to the site of the winner of the Region 6A championship game between Columbia and Summertown. Houston County 000 001 0-1 1 3

Forrest 210 401 X-8 14 1

Houston County: Sidney Brake 1-for-3

RBI: Ansley Roper

BB: Roper 2, Smith, Luci McCullough, Harley Hoard

RS: Roper

ROE: Smith

GIDP: Karlee Pulley

Totals

LOB: 5

E: Brake 2, Pulley

LP: Bean Baker

Forrest: Katlin Leverette 3-for-4, Anna Blanton 2-for-4, Carson Warner 2-for-4, Laura Mealer 2-for-4, Ally Blanton 2-for-4, Kennedy Gillespie 2-for-2, Jasmine Runk 1-for-3

3B: Leverette, Mealer

RBI: Mealer 2, Anna Blanton, Warner, King, Kennedy Gillespie

BB: Runk, Kennedy Gillespie 2

RS: Leverette 2, Mealer 2, Jenna Blanton 2, Anna Blanton, Kennedy Gillespie

ROE: Anna Blanton, Mealer

FC: Runk, Anna Blanton

HBP: Zoe Long

SB: Kennedy Gillespie, Runk, Mealer, Jenna Blanton

LOB: 18

E: Kennedy Gillespie

DP: Kayla Gillespie, Kennedy Gillespie

WP: Samantha King (7IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 6K, 5BB)