Lady Rockets earn 12-AA District title in rainy late night adventure
The Forrest Lady Rockets had won 23 straight games versus District 12-AA opponents coming in to Friday night’s district tournament title game at the Field of Dreams in Chapel Hill until the Giles County Lady Bobcats shocked Forrest 6-3.
Unfortunately for Giles County, two wins was necessary to take the title back to Pulaski and the second game wasn’t even close as the Lady Rockets run-ruled the Lady Bobcats 17-2 in four innings of softball in the rain.
“We came out and maybe our focus wasn’t there and our energy wasn’t there,” Forrest coach Shelby Stinnett said. “Our sticks weren’t there and that was very unlikely for us to not hit well, so I think that was a little bit of a shocker and a maybe a little bit of a humbling wakeup call.”
“But I’m proud of their effort and of the way they came back and played good ball after that.”
It was the 20th consecutive district tournament championship for Forrest and 31st since 1986.
Both teams advanced to the Region 6-AA Tournament semifinals on Monday with Forrest (30-5) hosting District 11-AA Tournament runner-up Waverly (37-10) while Giles County (23-9) travels to Creek Wood (32-4-1) to take on the Lady Red Hawks.
“That district over there is a great district and very competitive, so we are gonna have to play our ‘A’ game,” Stinnett said. “Our pitching is going to have to be spot on and give us a chance to win and our big bats are going to have to be there all the way around.”
“That is going to be a good game for us and a really hard game for us, so we have to be prepared and ready to go.”
The Lady Bobcats went long ball versus Forrest in the first game Friday night as Kyle Hendrix, Hannah McComiskey, and Alley Birdsong all hit solo home runs with Hendrix and McComiskey going back-to-back in top of the seventh inning to stave off the charging Lady Rockets.
“I thought they (Giles County) had a practice plan and kind of knew what our pitchers threw and they really had an idea what we were going to do and they executed it well, so hats off to them,” Stinnett said.
Forrest had nine hits in the game with Karley Daughrity leading the way with a 2-for-3 effort at the dish and a pair of RBIs.
Jenna Blanton, Laura Mealer, Zoe Long, Ally Blanton, Kayla Gillespie, and Kaydee Todd all had one hit apiece in the contest with Todd driving in a run with a sixth-inning pinch hit single that cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Hendrix picked up the win in the circle for Giles County while Lauren Gillespie took the loss for Forrest.
The Lady Rockets left nine runners on base and had two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a line drive double play and a groundout ended the game, sending the Lady Bobcats in to a premature celebration.
They didn’t celebrate for long as the rain began to fall and the Lady Rockets were in a bad mood.
Ashley Milligan started in the circle for Forrest and worked her way out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the first inning before the floodgates opened for the Lady Rockets’ offense.
Chapel Hill sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and scored nine runs on five hits, four bases on balls, a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly, and were helped out by four wild pitches and an error by the Lady Bobcats.
Kaitlin Leverette and Kennedy Gillespie had two RBIs apiece in the inning and Kayla Gillespie and Daughrity drove in one run.
Giles County scored an unearned run in the top of the second inning and Forrest went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame.
Milligan set down the Lady Bobcats in order in the top of the third inning and Forrest added five more runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by Ally Blanton and RBI base knocks by Leverette and Mealer.
Fletcher drove in a run with a sacrifice fly for Giles County in the top of the fourth inning before Forrest ended it.
Daughrity walked to lead off the bottom of the fourth and Addison Bunty came on to run and took second on a groundout.
Pinch hitter Kiersten Blalock drilled an RBI single to score Bunty and Leverette followed with a single to right field.
Mealer drew a base on balls to load the sacks and an error made it 16-2 before Long came up with a walk-off single to secure the district title.
Forrest banged out 14 hits in the four-inning game as Leverette led the way, going a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
Jenna Blanton, Laura Mealer, and Kennedy Gillespie all had two hits apiece in the contest while Anna Blanton, Blalock, Zoe Long, Ally Blanton, and Daughrity all had one base hit apiece.
Milligan picked up the win in the circle, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out four and walking two Lady Bobcats’ batters.
“Ashley probably hasn’t got as much pitching time as her work ethic and what she deserves, but man when she comes in, I could not ask for anything better,” Stinnett said. “We talked about her later on in the season getting some more opportunities and tonight she proved that she could handle that.”
“Especially coming in and having to pitch that second game with them having all the momentum and the rain and coming in and shutting them down was a big momentum changer for us and the energy she brings to the mound is great as well.”
Giles County 110 001 2-6 11 1
Forrest 001 010 0-3 9 2
Giles County: Anna Johnson 2-for-4, Hanna Hill 2-for-4, Alli Toone 2-for-4, MaKenna Birdsong 2-for-4, Kylie Hendrix 1-for-3, Hannah McComiskey 1-for-4, Ashlyn Kimbrough 1-for-4.
BB: Faith Cross, Hendrix.
RS: Birdsong 2, Hill, Hendrix, McComiskey, Kimbrough.
HR: Hendrix, McComiskey, Birdsong.
RBI: Birdsong 2, Hill, Hendrix, McComiskey, Alley Fletcher.
SAC FLY: Fletcher.
DP: Kimbrough 2, Toone 2, Fletcher.
Forrest: Karley Daughrity 2-for-3, Jenna Blanton 1-for-4, Laura Mealer 1-for-3, Zoe Long 1-for-2, Ally Blanton 1-for-3, Kayla Gillespie 1-for-2, Kaydee Todd 1-for-1.
BB: Anna Blanton.
RS: Mealer, Long, Sayrna Kurtz.
2B: Ally Blanton.
RBI: Daughrity 2, Kaydee Todd.
SAC FLY: Daughrity.
SAC BUNT: Kayla Gillespie.
GIDP: Kennedy Gillespie.
LIDP: Jenna Blanton.
SB: Jenna Blanton, Long.
E: Mealer, Long.
LP: Lauren Gillespie.
Giles County 010 1XX X-2 3 1
Forrest 905 3XX X-17 14 3
Giles County: Anna Johnson 1-for-2, Allie Toone 1-for-2, MaKenna Birdsong 1-for-2.
BB: Ashlyn Kimbrough.
RS: Toone, Kimbrough.
RBI: Johnson, Alley Fletcher.
SF: Johnson, Fletcher.
ROE: Faith Cross.
Team LOB: 5
Forrest: Kaitlin Leverette 3-for-3, Jenna Blanton 2-for-3, Laura Mealer 2-for-2, Kennedy Gillespie 2-for-3, Anna Blanton 1-for-3, Kiersten Blalock 1-for-1, Zoe Long 1-for-2, Ally Blanton 1-for-2, Karley Daughrity 1-for-2.
BB: Mealer 2, Jenna Blanton, Leverette, Kennedy Gillespie, Long, Daughrity.
RS: Anna Blanton 4, Jenna Blanton 3, Leverette 2, Mealer 2, Long 2, Daughrity, Addison Bunty.
2B: Daughrity, Kennedy Gillespie.
RBI: Kennedy Gillespie 3, Leverette 3, Ally Blanton 2, Blalock, Anna Blanton, Daughrity, Kayla Gillespie, Long, Mealer.
SAC: Ally Blanton.
SF: Kayla Gillespie.
ROE: Anna Blanton.
FC: Anna Blanton, Todd.
SB: Jenna Blanton 2, Anna Blanton 2.
Team LOB: 3
E: Daughrity, Long, Milligan.
WP: Ashley Milligan (4IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 4K, 2BB).