Gillespie shuts down Tigerettes in tournament tilt
Forrest and Marshall County High School met Monday night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill in the first-ever district tournament matchup between the two intra-county rivals and the game lived up to the billing as the Lady Rockets won a 2-0 thriller.
“It was truly a team effort, because as you know some of us did not get the job done, but that is what a good team is all about,” Forrest coach Becky Cheatham said. “When one person is not getting it done, somebody else has to step up.”
With the win, the two-time state champion Lady Rockets (31-2) secured a Region 6-AA Tournament berth and advanced to the District 12-AA title game Thursday night while the Tigerettes have some work to do if they want to get another rematch at Chapel Hill.
“We should make each other better,” Cheatham said. “Marshall County has a really good team and we will continue to work every day just to stay up with them. We are right where we want to be at this point and we will continue to work.”
Marshall County (18-10) hosts the loser’s bracket final at Lewisburg on Wednesday night and the team that wins that game will earn a region tournament berth and have to beat Forrest twice to claim the district title.
Lauren Gillespie was magnificent in the circle for Forrest as the southpaw gave up just two hits, while striking out three and walking four MCHS batters.
“I can’t say enough good things about Lauren, she pitched her best game of the season so far and is only going to get better from here,” Cheatham said. “And Carson (Warner) did a wonderful job behind the plate, you saw her stop a few there with her bare hand because she was determined that nothing was going to get behind her.”
Tigerette freshman Claire Woods also had a stellar game as she went the distance in the circle.
Woods gave up five hits and struck out four and walked four Forrest hitters.
Both teams had two runners on base in the first inning, but failed to push a run across and both squads went down 1-2-3 in the second inning.
Leah Hollingsworth banged a two-out single off Lauren Gillespie in the top of the fourth inning before the frame ended on a fly ball to Jenna Blanton in center field.
Woods set down Forrest in order in the bottom of the inning and then led off the top of the fourth inning with a base hit and went to second and third on a pair of wild pitches, but was stranded on base.
Forrest loaded the sacks with one out in the bottom of the frame, but Woods got out of the jam on a pop-up to catcher Sydne Solomon and a ground out to Tatum Garrett at second base.
MCHS did not score in the top of the fifth inning and in the home half of the frame the Lady Rockets finally broke through as Anna Blanton banged a one-out single, Kaitlin Leverette walked, and Jenna Blanton slashed a base hit to center field to load the bases.
Senior catcher Carson Warner drove in Anna Blanton with a sacrifice fly RBI before Woods escaped any further damage on a grounder to Mackenzie Walls at first base.
The top of the sixth inning ended on a sparkling defensive play by Jasmine Runk at second base and the fired up Runk led off the bottom of the inning with a base hit to right field.
“It was a great ballgame and it took a total team effort to win this game, we really needed this win going into to Thursday,” Runk said “We all know that you have to get the job done wherever you are put on the field or whenever you have a chance to hit.”
Pinch hitter Ashely Milligan proceeded to lay down a perfect sacrifice bunt before another pinch hitter, Karley Daughrity drilled an RBI double down the left field line, making it a 2-0 contest.
“I try to keep them motivated because they never know when their number will be called,” Cheatham said. “She (Daughrity) went to a two-strike count and she still got the job done. We will not give in and not give up.”
Lauren Gillespie gave up a two-out base on balls in the top of the seventh inning before the game ended on a line drive to Ally Blanton at third base.
Marshall County 000 000 0-0 2 2
Forrest 000 011 X-2 4 0
Marshall County: Leah Hollingsworth 1-for-3, Claire Woods 1-for-3.
BB: Sydne Solomon 2, Savannah Wooten, McKinley Richardson.
E: Wooten, Tatum Garrett.
DP: Garrett, Hollingsworth, MacKenzie Walls.
LP: Claire Woods (6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 4K, 4BB).
Forrest: Jenna Blanton 2-for-3, Jasmine Runk 1-for-2, Anna Blanton 1-for-3, Karley Daughrity 1-for-1.
RS: Runk, Anna Blanton.
BB: Kaitlin Leverette 2, Laura Mealer, Runk.
RBI: Carson Warner, Daughrity.
ROE: Carson Warner, Anna Blanton.
SAC FLY: Carson Warner.
GIDP: Carson Warner