King leads Lady Rockets over Houston County
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.
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.
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.
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
GIDP: Karlee Pulley
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
E: Kennedy Gillespie
DP: Kayla Gillespie, Kennedy Gillespie
WP: Samantha King (7IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 6K, 5BB)