Forrest seniors shine on their special night
Forrest’s three seniors stole the show on their special night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill as the Gillespie twins (Kennedy and Kayla) along with Lauren Gillespie were key cogs in the Lady Rockets’ 14-3 five-inning, run-rule win over Giles County that clinched the District 12-AA regular season title.
“It feels great, but we can’t do it without the girls, they put in all the time and they really buy in to the program,” Forrest coach Shelby Stinnett said. “And the coaching staff, we are here year round whether it is lifting or off-season and putting in the work, so I have to thank my coaching staff as well.”
Lauren Gillespie went the distance to pick up the win in the circle while Kayla Gillespie bashed a can opener grand slam home run and Kennedy Gillespie went a perfect 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
The three seniors are the only three Forrest players with a chance to wear two state championship rings as they were on the state tournament roster as eighth-graders in the 2015 title season.
Giles County came to play as they surprised the Lady Rockets by taking a 3-0 lead with two runs in the first inning knocked in on a two-run double by Hannah McComiskey and the Lady Bobcats added another run in the top of the second on a solo home run by pitcher Kylie Hendrix.
After the early three runs, Lauren Gillespie shut down the Lady Bobcats as the crafty lefty did not allow a baserunner past second base the remainder of the contest.
“Lauren is one of those pitchers that gets better as she goes, I guess our goal in moving forward is to getting her ready from the very start,” Stinnett said. “So we will continue to work on that, but this team showed that they have her back.”
Forrest failed to score in the first two innings before busting the game wide open in the bottom of the third inning.
Karley Daughrity got things started with a leadoff double and Addison Bunty came in to run for the Forrest third baseman.
Jenna Blanton reached on an infield error before stealing second base and Anna Blanton followed with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt RBI that scored Bunty.
Jenna Blanton was thrown out at home on a nice play by Giles County shortstop Alle Toone, but Mealer and Kennedy Gillespie followed with back-to-back singles to make it a 3-2 contest.
Zoe Long laid down a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first to load the bases before Anna Blanton walked to tie the game at 3-3.
Kayla Gillespie stepped in and stepped up, bashing a long grand slam home run over the left field fence to clear the sacks and put Forrest comfortably in front 7-3.
“Kayla’s stats just don’t show how well she is hitting it, she is having great at bats,” Stinnett said. “Even with the grand slam, man she hits the ball hard, she is seeing the ball, she is hitting it where it is pitched, and I couldn’t ask any more of her.”
With Lauren Gillespie in shutdown mode in the circle, Forrest added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on RBI hits by Mealer and Kennedy Gillespie.
The Lady Bobcats managed to coax a walk off Lauren Gillespie in the top of the fifth inning, but it was to no avail as they did not score.
With one down in the home half of the frame, Daughrity drilled a double off the right field fence.
Pinch hitter Kaydee Todd and Anna Blanton reached on back-to-back Giles County errors to make it 11-3 and Kaitlin Leverette followed with a base hit to right field.
Mealer came to the dish and took a couple hacks before bashing the walk off dinger deep over the left field fence, ending the game and clinching the district title.
“Laura’s first two at bats she didn’t hit her best pitch, she was just trying to get her base hits,” Stinnett said. “Once she saw her twice, she really exploded on it.”
The District 12-AA Tournament is at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill, beginning on May 2.
“It’s always a big advantage to play at home,” Stinnett said. “But we have to look at as up to this day in our eyes, it was pre-season, so once we get to the district is when the real stuff starts and our real season starts off.”
District 12-AA Standings
Forrest (24-2, 9-0)
Giles County (20-7, 7-3)
Nolensville (14-9, 6-3)
Marshall County (5-12, 3-7)
Central Magnet (5-18, 3-7)
Community (4-11, 1-9)
Giles County 210 00X X-3 3 3
Forrest 007 25X X-14 14 2
Giles County: Anna Johnson 1-for-1, Hannah McComiskey 1-for-2, Kylie Hendrix 1-for-2.
BB: Johnson 2, Faith Cross, Makenna Birdsong.
RS: Johnson, Cross, Hendrix.
RBI: McComiskey 2, Hendrix.
SAC: Allyson Kimbrough, Hanna Hill.
ROE: Alle Toone, Cross.
PIK: Johnson, Cross.
Team LOB: 3
E: Hendrix, Kimbrough, Ally Fletcher.
LP: Hendrix (4.1IP, 14H, 14R, 3ER, 1K, 1BB).
Forrest: Laura Mealer 3-for-4, Kennedy Gillespie 3-for-3, Zoe Long 3-for-3, Karley Daughrity 2-for-3, Anna Blanton 1-for-3, Kaitlin Leverette 1-for-4, Kayla Gillespie 1-for-3.
BB: Ally Blanton.
RS: Mealer 3, Anna Blanton 2, Leverette 2, Jenna Blanton, Kennedy Gillespie, Long, Kayla Gillespie, Daughrity, Addison Bunty, Sayrna Kurtz.
2B: Daughrity 2, Kennedy Gillespie.
HR: Kayla Gillespie, Mealer.
Grand slam: Kayla Gillespie.
RBI: Kayla Gillespie 4, Mealer 3, Anna Blanton 2, Kennedy Gillespie 2, Leverette 2, Ally Blanton.
SAC: Anna Blanton.
ROE: Jenna Blanton, Anna Blanton, Kaydee Todd.
SB: Jenna Blanton 2, Anna Blanton 2, Long 2, Mealer, Kennedy Gillespie.
Team LOB: 4
E: Jenna Blanton, Lauren Gillespie.
DP: Jenna Blanton, Kennedy Gillespie, Lauren Gillespie.
WP: Lauren Gillespie (5IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 3K, 4BB).