Forrest sweeps Southern Warrior Classic

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Kayla Gillespie hit the mound for the second time on Saturday for the Lady Rockets and held Highland (OH) to just one run before the final inning.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

The final game for the Lady Rockets at the Southern Warrior Classic was rather anticlimactic as both the players and fans were ready to get out of the miserable conditions and get home to start the weekend and for some the students, spring break.

The game remained close at 3-1 heading into the fifth inning before the Lady Rockets exploded for five runs, but also gave up three runs until the game was called with Forrest taking an 8-4 win over Highland, Ohio.

"Well, messy conditions and we were happy to get a win," Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. "I think their mind was on going home and starting spring break so we had a little let up there late."

"But we were able to score enough runs through the game to where that didn't hurt us," Cheatham added. "But we're gonna have to overcome that because we can't have any letups. Mental and physical."

Kayla Gillespie went the distance for Forrest and gave up just one run over the first five innings before giving up three in the top of the sixth.

Kennedy Gillespie had arguably her best offensive game of the Warrior Classic versus Highland High, going 3-3 with two singles, a double and an RBI during the Lady Rocketsí 8-4 victory.

Kennedy Gillespie and Ally Blanton both had monster games at the plate for the Lady Rockets.

Gillespie finished with three hits including a single, double and a RBI while Blanton finished with two singles and two RBIs.

Anna Blanton added two singles with an RBI and Kaitlyn Leverette finished with a single and a double with a RBI.

Laura Mealer sends a single up the middle in the third inning of the final game of the Warrior Classic against Highland, OH.

"Well, I know that the other pitcher is also struggling because she's having to pitch in the rain and it's cold so I just use that to my advantage that she's maybe missing her spots and we'll hit it," Ally Blanton said. "And Kayla definitely pitched a great game too. Even though we don't practice outside a lot, we have to learn how to and I think we did pretty well."

Blanton gave the Lady Rockets the initial advantage with a sacrifice fly to right field that Kennedy Gillespie tagged up and scored on.

Highland was able to even the score in the next inning, but once again Forrest answered with a Kennedy Gillespie RBI single to grab the lead at 2-1.

Forrest gained a little breathing room in the fourth inning when Zoe Long stole home and pushed the lead to 3-1, but the Lady Rockets missed an opportunity by stranding runners on second and third base.

The fifth inning was the inning that everything came together for the Lady Rockets as Laura Mealer reached on a throwing error and Gillespie knocked a double to the center field fence, before Ally Blanton came through again with a RBI single to extend the lead to 4-1.

Kaydee Todd stole home on the next sequence for a 5-1 lead, Anna Blanton hit an RBI single into left field and Leverette drove a ball almost over the center field fence before settled for a double and a RBI for the 7-1.

Leverette subsequently stole home for an 8-1 lead after five innings.

Highland made a mini-run in the top of the sixth inning to trim the lead to 8-4, but the spurt was too little, too late and the Forrest Lady Rockets left the Warrior Classic with an undefeated tournament record.

Over the course of two days, the Chapel Hill based squad played and beat five teams from the states of Illinois, Alabama and Ohio by a combined 42-22 score and are now 5-0 against 3A competition by a 51-4 mark.

"I'm happy to get out of here without any losses and have a vacation and get back and be ready to go on April 3 (Community)," Cheatham said.