Forrest goes undefeated at Southern Warrior Classic

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Jasmine Runk drives home the final run of the contest against Sylvania on Saturday.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The Lady Rockets are no stranger to playing teams outside the state, as Forrest usually plays in at least two tournaments during the regular season that feature squads from across the country.

Saturday morning at the Southern Warrior Classic in Murfreesboro would be no different as the Lady Rockets took on Sylvania, Alabama from just outside of Fort Payne.

The 8th-ranked (3A) Rams participate in one of the toughest regions in the state which also features highly ranked Plainview, which Forrest throttled 13-3 the previous evening.

Sylvania would be a much tougher matchup for Forrest as the Alabama squad tied the game at 3-3 in fourth inning before the Lady Rockets came back to take a closely played 6-3 win.

"Well, I think we finally adjusted our hitting to what their pitcher was throwing," Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. "It takes us a while to make those adjustments. So we finally got on the pitchers and got the job done."

Lauren Gillespie pitched five great innings with 12 first pitch strikes and five strikeouts before Kayla Gillespie relieved the freshman for the final two innings to close the contest.

"I knew that if Mrs. Cheatham put me in then I had to shut them down somehow, someway," Kayla said. "I knew our pitchers weren't doing as well as they usually do and we were probably sore from playing so many games this week."

"But I just had the mindset that I had to shut them down."

Senior Carson Warner led the team with three RBIs on three hits and supplied the game-winning RBI in the final Forrest at-bat.

After the Rams tied the game at 3-3 all on a Lauren Womack fielder's choice RBI in the fourth inning, the Lady Rockets entered the sixth with the score still knotted up.

Kaitlyn Leverette led off the inning with a single and Jenna Blanton reached on a bunt.

Kennedy Gillespie hits the ball down the line during the fifth inning in Forrest’s 6-3 win over Sylvania.

Warner stepped up and drove a double deep into center field for a 4-3 lead before Blanton crossed home plate on a bad throw to third base.

Jasmine Runk sealed the deal with an RBI single up the middle to push the lead to 6-3, which ultimately turned into the final score after Gillespie retired the Lady Rams to end the game.

"We just put a lot of our thoughts into our errors and just concentrate on what she was pitching and learn from other batters vicariously through what she pitched to them," Warner stated. "We definitely need to learn how to get the ball on the ground and I think this tournament helped us prepare for going to the state tournament where we have to play long days and this will really help us."

Forrest finished the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record to claim the small school title.

Sylvania 001 200-3 4 2

Forrest 102 03X-6 10 3

Forrest: Carson Warner 3-for-3, Kaitlin Leverette 2-for-3, Jenna Blanton 2-for-3, Laura Mealer 1-for-2, Jasmine Runk 1-for-3, Anna Blanton 1-for-1.

RS: Jenna Blanton 3, Leverette, Mealer, Anna Blanton.

BB: Mealer.

2B: Mealer, Anna Blanton, Warner.

RBI: Warner 3, Runk, Leverette.

SAC: Anna Blanton.

ROE: Ally Blanton.

FC: Jenna Blanton.

GIDP: Mealer.

Team LOB: 4


E: Runk 2, Jenna Blanton.

WP: Lauren Gillespie (4IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 5K, 4BB).

Save: Kayla Gillespie (2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB).