By Collin Brooks
Revenge from their Region 1-AAA loss last season was on the mind of the Lady Chiefs as they entered Gray on Monday afternoon. But it wasn’t what fueled them to a 4-0 win at Daniel Boone.
Timely hits were what punched the ticket for Cherokee to secure a sub-state bid and a rematch with Morristown East in the Region final.
“I think it’s on everyone’s mind when you come down here,” Cherokee assistant coach Danielle Trent said. “But you can’t come down here thinking about the past, you just have to move forward with the future and play in the game and that is where the momentum came in and they started firing and putting the bats together.”
Daniel Boone looked like they would score first after Jaycie Jenkins started out the bottom of the first inning with a single and found her way to third base with no outs. However, she was tagged out at home after a hard hit ball by Kristen Hall and the Lady Blazers would end the inning with runners stranded on second and third.
“We just couldn’t get that big hit with runners on,” Daniel Boone Coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “And I think the bottom of the first kind of set the tone there for us for the rest of the day. We were just playing behind the eight ball all day.”
The big stop seemed to spark Cherokee, as they were able to put a run on the board during their following at bat. Taylor Begley started the inning with a hit and she was brought across the plate by Faith Webb who hit a drive to left field to take the 1-0 lead.
It looked like the Lady Chiefs would strike again in the third inning when Grace Jones started off the inning with a triple. But she and McKenzie Brewer were gunned down at home plate to thwart Cherokee’s attempts. However, the Lady Blazers wouldn’t be so lucky when Kaitlin Parsons was brought home by contact from Paisley Lyons during the same inning.
In the fourth inning it was Tori Voiles that was brought home with two outs after Parsons knocked a single to the outfield.
The final run for Cherokee came from Lyons after she was brought home from a double that hit the right field fence by Webb.
In all, the Lady Chiefs totaled 11 hits, while the Lady Blazers were only able to notch four.
Daniel Boones’ Rachel Vittetoe and Ashley Starnes recorded the only two other hits for the Lady Blazers on the night.
“We had three hits all day and their pitcher did a good job of stating away from us and we didn’t do a good job of adjusting at the plate,” Jenkins said. “And in two of the last three games we have been shutout. We just have to make those adjustments on the fly sometimes, especially when your in a must-win game to go on.
“But our girls played hard all year. 34-7, one of the best teams in East Tennessee and it just wasn’t our day today and that’s just how it goes. Sometimes you run into that buzz saw and we ran into her today.”
Jenkins said that Cherokee pitcher Erin Forgety kept the Lady Blazers off-stride with the way she changed up her pitches. But there were also some strong plays in the field for the Lady Chiefs.
The pitching was also solid from the Lady Blazers as Nikolette Ferguson recorded six strikeouts for Boone. However, some uncommon errors allowed base runners to advance and eventually score on the pads.
“We threw well enough to win, but we made some critical mistakes in the field that we haven’t been making all year, but it happens like that,” Jenkins said. “We hadn’t made them all year, so it’s bound to happen.”