One-hit combo, hot bats lifts Lady Rockets to D12-AA win
The Forrest Lady Rockets (28-4) outscored their district opponents 120-17 during an undefeated 10-0 regular season and they continued the domination with a five-inning, 10-0 run-rule win over Murfreesboro Central Magnet School (MCM) in Friday night’s second round District 12-AA Tournament win at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill.
“We definitely needed some momentum coming in, we played at the Coffee County Tournament last week against some high caliber teams in Baylor (5-1L) and Blackmon (6-3L), so coming in and getting our confidence back was a big step for us,” Forrest coach Shelby Stinnett said.
Lauren Gillespie and Ashely Milligan combined for a one-hitter with Gillespie starting and picking up the win in the circle as the Chattanooga State Community College signee gave up one hit while striking out three and walking zero.
Milligan came on to hurl two innings of no-hit ball and struck out one and walked one Lady Tiger batter.
Forrest banged out 15 hits in the game, highlighted by home runs off the bats of Bethel University signees Kennedy and Kayla Gillespie as the twins combined for dingers for the first time together in a high school game.
“After Kennedy hit the first one, Kayla said ‘I gotta match it’,” a smiling Stinnett said. “We definitely like that long ball and you have to shout out to the girls with the work they put in all the time and the weight program that helps that.”
Zoe Long went a perfect 3-for-3 as the slapper set the table with a triple, double, stolen base, and two runs scored.
“We have been really big on slappers all week long,” Stinnett said. “They really get us going, so when they can get on our power comes through.”
Jenna Blanton (2B, RS), Laura Mealer (two 2B, 2RS, RBI), Kennedy Gillespie (HR, 3RBIs, 2RS), and Karley Daughrity (RBI) all had two hits apiece in the contest while Anna Blanton (2B, RS, SAC), Kaitlin Leverette (2B, RBI, SAC FLY), Ally Blanton (RBI), and Kayla Gillespie (HR, 2RBIs, RS) all had one hit apiece.
The Lady Rockets blasted off the launch pad, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run homer by Kennedy Gillespie and a sacrifice fly RBI by Leverette.
Lauren Gillespie set down the Lady Tigers 1-2-3 in the first two innings and gave up her lone hit in the top of the third before the Forrest offense put the game away with a five-run bottom of the third.
Kayla Gillespie’s two-run shot was the big blow in the frame while Mealer, Kennedy Gillespie, and Long all drove in one run apiece as the Lady Rockets took a commanding 8-0 lead.
There was no scoring in the fourth inning and in the top of the fifth, Milligan set down MCM 1-2-3.
Long doubled to lead off the bottom of the stanza and trotted home on an Ally Blanton RBI base hit.
Sayrna Kurtz came in to run for the Forrest catcher and stole second base before going to third on a ground ball out.
Daughrity stepped in and stepped up, drilling the walk off RBI single to center field to end the game and send the Lady Rockets to a third-round matchup versus Giles County on Monday.
The Lady Rockets are 5-0 versus the Lady Bobcats since the teams reclassified to District 12-AA last season.
“Giles County is a well-coached team and their pitcher does a good job of working it in and out, so we just have to jump on her early, our defense has to stay solid and hopefully we can keep their hitters down with our pitchers,” Stinnett said.
MCM 000 00X X-0 1 0
Forrest 305 02X X-10 15 0
Murfreesboro Central Magnet: Faith McCaghren 1-for-2.
BB: Abby Frazier.
Team LOB: 2
DP: Kali Penney, Frazier, Abby Griffin.
LP: Faith McCaghren.
Forrest: Zoe Long 3-for-3, Jenna Blanton 2-for-3, Laura Mealer 2-for-3, Kennedy Gillespie 2-for-3, Karley Daughrity 2-for-3, Anna Blanton 1-for-2, Kaitlin Leverette 1-for-2, Ally Blanton 1-for-3, Kayla Gillespie 1-for-3.
RS: Mealer 2, Kennedy Gillespie 2, Long 2, Jenna Blanton, Anna Blanton, Kayla Gillespie, Sayrna Kurtz.
2B: Mealer 2, Jenna Blanton, Anna Blanton, Leverette, Long.
HR: Kennedy Gillespie, Kayla Gillespie.
RBI: Kennedy Gillespie 3, Kayla Gillespie 2, Ally Blanton, Daughrity, Leverette, Long, Mealer.
SAC: Anna Blanton.
SB: Kurtz, Long.
Team LOB: 3
WP: Lauren Gillespie (3IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 3K, 0BB).
Relief: Ashley Milligan (2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 1BB).