MURFREESBORO — The Forrest Lady Rockets have plenty of recent history with the Alcoa Tornadoes. The two teams met last season for the Class 2-A state championship, with Alcoa outlasting Forrest …
MURFREESBORO — The Forrest Lady Rockets have plenty of recent history with the Alcoa Tornadoes.
The two teams met last season for the Class 2-A state championship, with Alcoa outlasting Forrest to claim the 2022 championship.
It seems only fitting the two teams would draw each other in the first round of the 2023 state tournament.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was the Lady Rockets getting the upper hand on Alcoa, capitalizing off two big innings to take the state opener, 10-7.
Going into the six-run fifth inning, Forrest coach Shelby Lightfoot wanted her team to focus on small ball and putting pressure on the Alcoa defense to make a play.
“Going into that inning our adjustment was to swing at pitches in the zone and cut down our swings. Our focus was to make the defense make a play. After the momentum shifted our way we ran with it,” Lightfoot said.
Trailing 2-1 entering the fifth, the Lady Rockets took advantage of several Alcoa miscues to put runners on base and with two outs, scored the tying run on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Moreland.
Abby Ferguson then mashed a two RBI triple and then scored on another Alcoa error to break the game wide open.
Two more Tornado errors set up a fifth Lady Rocket run of the inning before Carli Warner singled home the sixth run of the frame.
By the end of the fifth, Forrest built a 7-2 lead over Alcoa.
The Tornadoes got one back off a one-out home run in the top of the second—only to see Forrest get back to work in the bottom of the inning and plate three more runs on an error that scored Parker Wales and a two-RBI single off the bat of senior Macyn Kirby.
While Moreland has been a cornerstone for the Lady Rockets all season long from the pitcher’s circle, she had to work around some struggles on Tuesday afternoon.
Even with Moreland not at her sharpest from the circle, the Lady Rocket fireballer was able to do just enough to keep the Alcoa bats from heating up.
“She actually struggled today finding the zone. But her ability to get the ball down and mix in her off speed kept the hitters off balanced,” Lightfoot said.
She went the distance and gave up three runs on six hits, while striking out two.
Ferguson was the offensive supplier for the Lady Rockets in Game 1 of the state tournament, going 1-for-4, but driving in three runs. Chilton also went 1-for-4 and knocked in a pair of runs for the Lady Rockets.
Forrest advances in the winners bracket and will face Waverly on Wednesday, who defeated Scotts Hill.
The goal for Forrest is to deliver in two of the three phases of the game, between hitting, pitching and fielding, according to Lightfoot.
“Try and do two out of three parts of the game well. We need to play good defense early and pitchers keep us in the ball game until our bats get hot,” Lightfoot said.
First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m.
Alcoa 001 011 0 — 3 6 7
Forrest 001 063 x — 10 5 0
Forrest: Abby Ferguson 1-for-4, Ella Chilton 1-for-4, Carli Warner 1-for-3, Parker Wales 2-for-3.