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Community stuns Forrest for first-ever region championship

By RICKEY CLARDY ~ Sports Writer
Posted 5/18/23

CHAPEL HILL — What a difference a week makes. After losing twice to the Forrest Lady Rockets by a combined score of 18-3 a week ago in the District 7-AA tournament, the Community Viqueens …

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Community stuns Forrest for first-ever region championship


CHAPEL HILL — What a difference a week makes.
After losing twice to the Forrest Lady Rockets by a combined score of 18-3 a week ago in the District 7-AA tournament, the Community Viqueens came off the deck in the Region 4-AA championship game with a five-run fourth inning to take charge and used a complete game performance on the mound by Annie Prince along with a stellar errorless defensive effort to beat the Lady Rockets 5-2 and claim the school's first region softball crown.
"I love it. I absolutely love it," Coach Cam Farrell of the Viqueens said. "From the jump they came out with a we're going to win attitude."
From the outset, it was a pitching duel between Prince and Taylor Moreland of the Lady Rockets as the base runners were few and far between through the first three innings. 
The Viqueens could only manage two runners and the Lady Rockets just one before Community (19-11-1) exploded in the top of the fourth.
Abi Brown reached base on an error to start the inning which opened the flood gates for the Viqueens. 
Consecutive singles by Abby Murrill and Zoey Dixon loaded the bases with no outs.
Carlie Blanton came through with a two-run single to give the Viqueens the lead.  After the first out, the singles kept coming as Haley Mitchell and Chloe West followed with RBI-singles to give the Viqueens a 4-0 advantage. 
Alana Tate, the ninth batter in the inning, connected on a two-out single to score the final Viqueen run and give Community a 5-0 lead.
The Lady Rockets put a dent in the score with one run in the bottom of the inning.  Moreland led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch to cut the Viqueen lead to 5-1.
Forrest (25-11) challenged again in the bottom of the sixth, but the Viqueen defense came up big.
After one out, Moreland and Christa Warren singled, putting runners on first and second. 
An Abby Ferguson single to center looked to score a Lady Rocket run, but center fielder Murrill fielded the ball cleanly and threw a strike to the plate to nab the runner for a key out. 
A groundout then ended the inning as the Viqueens were unscathed and took their 5-1 lead to the seventh.
A leadoff triple by Maggie Daughrity and a walk to Sarah King put two Lady Rockets on base to start the bottom of the seventh. 
After a fly out, a sacrifice fly scored the second Forrest run, but on the play the throw from the outfield gunned down the Lady Rocket runner at third to complete the game and send the championship hardware to Unionville.
Blanton had two safeties to lead the nine-hit Viqueen attack as eight different Community players had hits.
Moreland had two hits to lead the Lady Rockets.
"We're not making the adjustments we need to make," Coach Shelby Lightfoot of the Lady Rockets said. "At the end, we tried to come alive, but we can't wait until the sixth and seventh to try to put in some runs. That's not our ballgame."
"We've got to find a way to put some runs up early," Lightfoot added. 
"People say it's so much mental and so much physical and you have to put it together," Farrell said. 
"I told them I don't believe that. I believe it is 100% mental."
"Your mind controls your body and controls everything that you do," Farrell added. "Let your mind make your body work and make your body do what it's supposed to do."            
Lightfoot had praise for the Viqueens and their winning effort.
"They brought big energy tonight on every single pitch," Lightfoot said. "Their heart, their hustle was behind everything they did."
"We made a few errors and some timely hits back-to-back  got us in a hole," Lightfoot added.
Prince pitched after suffering a leg injury in the district tournament.
"She has a warrior's heart," Farrell said. "She is such a competitor. I am so proud of her."
With Bledsoe County defeating Westmoreland 6-4 in the Region 3-AA championship, Community will host Westmoreland in the Class 2A sectional round while Forrest will travel to Bledsoe County with state tournament berths on the line.      
Community  0005000 -  5  9  0        
Forrest          0001001 -  2  6  3
Community  –  Carlie Blanton 2-for-2, Zoey Dixon 1-for-3, Haley Mitchell 1-for-3, Chloe West 1-for-3, Anna Haskins 1-for-4, Alana Tate 1-for-4, Abi Brown 1-for-4, Abby Murrill 1-for-4.
Forrest  –  Taylor Moreland 2-for-3, Christa Warren 1-for-2, Abby Ferguson 1-for-3, Ella Chilton 1-for-3, Maggie Daughrity 1-for-3.
WP: Prince  
LP: Moreland


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