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It was a team with five straight titles vs. an undefeated one; a young team vs. an experienced one; Forest vs. Liberty.
In a tight pitching duel, the Lady Cavs prevailed 3-0, hanging a loss on the Minettes for the first time this season and putting Forest back into the thick of the hunt for a sixth straight title.
Freshman Carly Farmer limited the Minettes' hitherto spicy bats to four hits while reigning Seminole District Pitcher of the Year fell victim to some shoddy field play by her mates.
Farmer, nursing a tender back, showed some gritty determination when she waved off Head Coach Gary Harris's offer to take her out of the game in the late innings. "She kept the ball down," stated Harris. "The only hits against her came when she missed her spots."
Farmer didn't miss often and her teammates played stellar defense behind her. The sophomore tandem of middle infielders Lauren Scrivener (short) and Paige Hammock (second) were stout. Hammock reined in several hard shots from the Minettes.
Right fielder Kristie Dooley showed a strong arm, nailing an advancing Page Murphy at second to halt the rally aspirations of Liberty.
Forest pieced together its three run total in the fourth inning. Amber Smith led off the inning with a single and Dooley put down the sacrifice bunt to advance her to second. Scrivener's infield ball was overthrown to first base putting runners on the corners.
After Dooley stole second, Natalie Farmer had a masterful, 12 pitch duel with Davis that resulted in the Lady Cav getting a base on balls. After Erin Witt's loopy liner ended up in a force at home, Kara Hannell rifled a shot to left that escaped the fielder. At least one run would have scored. As it wound up, Hannell's hit cleared the bases.
With Farmer hitting her spots and with the Forest defense yielding not a single error, the Lady Cavs could ride out the rest of this one.
With the win, Forest sits with only one more loss than Liberty. However, the Lady Cavs have played two less District games (due to rain outs).
Lady Cavs trounce Staunton River
Forest capitalized on an 11-run fourth inning to beat up on the Lady Eagles by the score of 17-2. The team got production from all corners as it pounded out 16 hits.
First baseman Chelsea Lavender's three-run homer was the highlight of the outburst in the fourth stanza. "We really started teeing off," remarked a satisfied Gary Harris, Forest head coach. "They're all starting to hit well."
The offensive onslaught should be of concern to the rest of the Seminole District. At the start of the season, there was a general assumption that Forest had three or four solid hitters. That assumption is no longer valid.
With Staunton River walking Lavender three times, her teammates stepped right up. Leadoff hitter Kara Hannell went 2-for-5 against the Eagles, while Paige Hammock went 2-for-5 with a triple.
Amber Smith was 2-for 4 and Brittany Roarke put down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in the fourth, the same inning in which the Lady Cavs posted 8 hits. In fact, the inning started with an out and all 11 runs scored before the Eagles were able to log the second out of the inning.
Staunton River starter Raven Burnette kept Forest hitless until the fourth.
The most impressive stat of the game might have come in the form of starter Carly Farmer's pitch count. Nursing a tender back, the fireballer only had to toss 35 pitches in her four-inning appearance.
Combined with its 12-2 loss to Rustburg, the Lady Eagles appear to be reeling as they prepare to host Liberty this Wednesday night. A win over the Minettes, who edged them by one run in their District opener, could be the tonic this team needs. Liberty, of course, should come out smoking mad after its loss to Forest.