Lady Rockets handle Giles County, advance to 12-AA title game

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Kennedy Gillespie continued her hot hitting streak with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate in the Lady Rocketsí 9-2 win over Giles County Monday night in the District 12-AA winnerís bracket contest.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets took care of business Monday night at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill as they came away with a 9-2 win over Giles County to advance to the District 12-AA title game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Forrest.

Giles County hosts Nolensville tonight in the loser's bracket final.

Forrest (29-4) advanced to the championship game and also secured a spot in the Region 6-AA Tournament behind an 11-hit attack and the solid pitching of Lauren Gillespie and Ashley Milligan, who are sharing time in the circle in the postseason.

Forrest shortstop Jenna Blanton guns down a Giles County runner in the first inning.

Gillespie picked up the win with four shutout innings as the efficient lefty surrendered three hits while striking out three and walking one Lady Bobcat batter.

Milligan came on in the fifth inning and tossed two shutout innings before Makenna Birdsong blasted a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning for Giles Countyís only runs of the game.

Kennedy Gillespie continued her red-hot hitting at the plate, leading the offensive attack with a 3-for-4 effort and two runs scored.

Jenna Blanton (RBI, RS, SB) and Anna Blanton (RS, SB) both went 2-for-3 and Laura Mealer (2RBI, RS), Zoe Long (RS), Ally Blanton (RBI, Sac Fly), and Karley Daughrity (RS) all had one hit apiece.

Kayla Gillespie did not have a hit, but drove in two runs via a bases loaded base on balls and a squeeze bunt run batted in.

Lauren Gillespie tossed a scoreless first inning before the Lady Rockets opened up the scoring in the home half of the frame as Jenna Blanton led off with a bunt single and stole second base.

Anna Blanton lays down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the first inning.

Anna Blanton sacrificed her sister Jenna to third and Kaitlin Leverette knocked the Forrest shortstop in with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.

Hanna McComiskey led off the top of the second inning with a base hit for the Lady Bobcats, but consecutive ground ball outs to Kennedy Gillespie at first base was followed by an inning ending strikeout.

Kennedy Gillespie led off the bottom half of the frame with a base hit and Zoe Long laid down a bunt that was misplayed and the Lady Rockets had runners on second and third on the bad throw.

Ally Blanton made it a 2-0 contest with a sacrifice fly RBI and Kayla Gillespie gave the Lady Rockets a 3-0 lead on a squeeze bunt fielderís choice RBI.

Both starting pitchers recorded a 1-2-3 third inning and after a leadoff single by Faith Cross in the top of the fourth, Lauren Gillespie got two outs on ground balls and the third out was recorded by Long on a fly ball to right field.

Kennedy Gillespie banged a one-out single in the bottom of the inning and Long reached on an infield single.

Forrest catcher Ally Blanton is all smiles as she gets the signal from Forrest head coach Shelby Stinnett.

Ally Blanton followed with another infield hit to load the bases full of Lady Rockets before Kayla Gillespie walked to make it 4-0.

After a force out at home, Jenna Blanton banged an RBI single to left field and Forrest took a 5-0 lead to the fifth inning.

Milligan came to the circle and got a ground ball out to Daughrity at third before striking out the next two Lady Bobcats to end the inning.

Forrest added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a Mealer RBI single and a Giles County error.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Lady Bobcats got two runners on base with two outs, but Milligan came up with another inning ending strikeout.

Mealer drove in the final Forrest run of the night on a sacrifice fly RBI in the bottom of the frame and the Lady Bobcats finally got on the board on Birdsongís two-run homer with one down in the top of the seventh inning.

Milligan escaped any further damage, getting out number two on a fly ball to Anna Blanton in center field and the game ended on a ground ball to Mealer at second base.

The two-time state champion Lady Rockets will be playing in its 22nd consecutive district tournament title game and have won all of the previous 21.

Giles County 000 000 2-2 6-4

Forrest 120 231 X-9 11 0

Giles County: Anna Johnson 1-for-4, Hanna Hill 1-for-3, Faith Cross 1-for-2, Hannah McComiskey 1-for-3, Ashlyn Kimbrough 1-for-3, Makenna Birdsong 1-for-3.

BB: Cross.

RS: Kimbrough, Birdsong.

3B: Kimbrough.

HR: Birdsong.

RBI: Birdsong 2.

SAC: Alli Toone.

FC: Kylie Hendrix, McComiskey.

SB: Hill.

Totals

Team LOB: 5

Fielding

E: Cross 2, Johnson, Brenna Huckaba.

LP: Anna Johnson.

Forrest: Kennedy Gillespie 3-for-4, Jenna Blanton 2-for-3, Anna Blanton 2-for-3, Laura Mealer 1-for-3, Zoe Long 1-for-3, Ally Blanton 1-for-2, Karley Daughrity 1-for-2.

BB: Kaitlin Leverette, Mealer, Kayla Gillespie.

RS: Kennedy Gillespie 2, Sayrna Kurtz 2, Jenna Blanton, Anna Blanton, Mealer, Long, Daughrity.

RBI: Kayla Gillespie 2, Mealer 2, Leverette, Jenna Blanton, Ally Blanton.

SAC: Jenna Blanton, Anna Blanton, Kayla Gillespie.

SF: Ally Blanton, Leverette.

ROE: Ally Blanton, Long.

FC: Kaydee Todd.

SB: Jenna Blanton, Anna Blanton, Kurtz.

CS: Mealer.

Totals

Team LOB: 5

WP: Lauren Gillespie (4IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB).

Relief: Ashley Milligan (3IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 3K, 1BB).