By: By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
September 17, 2013
Thanks to a brilliant pitching performance by Emily Anderson, one run was just enough for the LaGrange Lady Grangers Tuesday afternoon.
Facing Carrollton in a Region 5-AAAA showdown, LaGrange pushed a run across in the bottom of the eighth inning to claim a 1-0 victory.
The Lady Grangers (13-7 overall) wrapped up the first half of the region schedule with a 5-2 record, leaving them in third place with seven games remaining.
The region’s top four teams advance to the state tournament.
Against Carrollton, Anderson pitched an eight-inning shutout, and she gave up just one hit while striking out 16 batters.
Anderson was at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning when a pitch from Carrollton’s Katie Jones got away from the catcher, allowing Leighton Parker to race home with the winning run.
Jones, who also threw a one-hitter, was the tough-luck loser.
“I figured it was going to be low-scoring,” Anderson said. “It was stressful. But it turned out well.”
The Lady Grangers had multiple scoring opportunities during the game, but it took them until the eighth inning to finally push a run across.
Using the international tiebreaker rule, each team began the eighth inning with a runner on second base.
Carrollton’s base runner moved to third with one out on a sacrifice bunt, but she was stranded there.
First baseman Karsin Spinks made a nice play on a bunt for the second out, and Anderson got a strikeout to end the inning.
Catcher Makenzie Traylor also made a nice play on a pitch in the dirt to keep the runner on third.
“She saved me,” Anderson said of Traylor.
Head coach Jan Jones said the team did a great job of staying poised in the inning.
“I think I was more nervous than they were,” Jones said. “We fielded two bunts right there, and kept the runner at third on the second bunt. That’s hard to do. And then Emily comes through with the strikeout at the end.”
LaGrange began its half of the eighth inning with Parker on second base, and she moved to third with one out on a sacrifice bunt by Te’a Winston on a 3-2 pitch.
Carrollton’s pitcher got the second out on a strikeout, bringing Anderson to the plate with a chance to win the game.
Turns out, Anderson never had to take a swing thanks to the wild pitch.
Parker scored easily on the play, and that was that.
LaGrange struggled at the plate, with Winston coming through with the only hit, and that was on a bunt in the fifth inning.
“She was tough to hit,” Jones said. “We have to be able to stay back and adjust to the pitcher a little better.”
LaGrange did enough to win, though, and that’s the bottom line.
The Lady Grangers will now try to chase down the two teams ahead of them in the region, Alexander and Columbus.
“That was the last game of the first time through (the region schedule),” Jones said. “We were playing for third. Now, we have a chance to climb even more.”
LaGrange will visit Shaw on Thursday before hosting Columbus on Tuesday.