LaGrange drops a close one

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

September 24, 2013

The LaGrange Lady Grangers showed a lot of fight in rallying back from a three-run hole against Columbus on Tuesday, but they were unable to pull off what would have been a huge region victory.

Columbus pushed a run across in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead, and LaGrange was unable to answer en route to a 4-3 home loss.

The Lady Grangers (14-8 overall) fell to 6-3 in Region 5-AAAA, leaving them in a tie for fourth place with Carrollton.

Columbus is alone in second place with a 7-2 region record, and it has swept both regular-season games from LaGrange.

Alexander, the only team that hasn’t lost a region game, will host LaGrange on Thursday.

If LaGrange wins that game, it would still have a chance to finish second in the region and secure a home series in the state playoffs.

If LaGrange loses, though, it would be in a fight for one of the final two playoff spots.

“For our confidence, we need to win Thursday,” LaGrange head coach Jan Jones said.

The Lady Grangers have been red-hot of late, and they’d hope to keep the good times going against Columbus.

After four scoreless innings, Columbus scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning, but LaGrange answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to tie it.

It remained tied until Columbus scored a single run in the top of the seventh.

“I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought we grew a lot. That’ll help us,” Jones said.” But there are just a couple of small things. We had some base-running mistakes. We missed a couple of signs. You can’t do that. We are still missing those areas where we’re not locked in.”

Columbus scored three runs in the top of the fifth, all with two outs.

April Hardin drove in a pair of runs with a triple, and Sydney Sprague capped the rally with an RBI double.

LaGrange answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Taylor Storey and Te’a Winston got things started with back-to-back base hits, and Karsin Spinks then delivered an RBI single.

Storey scored on Spinks’ single, and Winston scored when a throw to the infield got away.

Taylor Livingston then grounded out to bring Sparks in with the tying run.

Columbus’ first two batters in the sixth inning reached, but LaGrange pitcher Emily Anderson got out of the jam without any runs scoring.

Columbus got two runners on in the seventh inning as well, and this time it scored a run on a Lexie Storh base hit.

LaGrange went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the suspense.

LaGrange finished with six hits, with Spinks leading the way with two hits and an RBI.

Makenzie Traylor also had two hits, and Winston and Storey had the other hits.

Mary Catherine-Smith went the distance to get the win for Columbus, while Anderson pitched seven innings and struck out eight batters in the loss.

Moving forward, Jones said a key for the team will be getting out of innings, which the team was unable to do in the fifth and seventh innings.

“We have to have that mentality of, when we get two outs, that nothing’s going to get by me. You can’t relax in that area. When you get two outs, we have to be mentally tougher,” Jones said. “We worked really hard to get two outs the innings they scored. And we just can’t get that third out without them scoring. We just have to be a little bit better mentally.”