Productive weekend for LaGrange

By Kevin Eckleberry

August 17, 2014

After playing five games in two days to open the season, LaGrange High softball coach Jan Jones has a better idea of what her team needs to work on.

Jones saw plenty of positive things from her team, which went 3-2 and finished in fourth place in the Callaway Classic at Shuford Fields.

She also saw plenty that the team needs to work on as it gears up for the start of region play.

LaGrange won three of its first four tournament games to earn a spot in the third-place game against Callaway.

LaGrange had plenty of chances to win that game, but it was Callaway walking away with a 7-6 victory after scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“There are some things we could have done better,” Jones said. “The biggest thing is our knowledge of the game has to get a little better. We have to get a little more aggressive, and take advantage of situations on the field.”

One situation in the Callaway game stood out for Jones when her team loaded the bases with no outs and was unable to score.

“The turning point for us in that game could have been bases loaded, no outs with our three, four and five hitter up, and we couldn’t produce,” Jones said. “That’s huge. You have to take advantage of that situation. You have the whole infield in, and all you have to do is hit it hard on the ground somewhere, and we’re scoring two runs.”

The Lady Grangers scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the third to take the early lead, and they had a chance to bust things open when they loaded the bases in the fourth.

“We have to take advantage of those moments,” Jones said.

Had LaGrange put a few more runs on the board against Callaway, it would have gone 4-1 in the tournament.

It was still a winning weekend for the Lady Grangers, though.

They opened with a pair of wins on Friday, beating Manchester 15-0 and Landmark Christian 5-0.

On Saturday, LaGrange lost 15-0 to eventual tournament champion Heard County, but it bounced back to beat Hardaway 11-3 to finish 3-1 in pool play.

That set up a third-place showdown with Callaway, which went 2-2 in its pool.

LaGrange led 3-0 after the top of the first inning, but Callaway answered with four runs in its half of the inning.

After Callaway went on top 5-3 with a run in the second inning, LaGrange took a 6-5 lead with three more runs in the third inning.

Taylor Storey, Lauren Kuerzi, Destiny Gay and Leighton Parker all had hits in the inning for LaGrange.

Callaway tied it with a run in the bottom of the fourth, and it won the game on a Brittany Mitchell RBI single in the seventh inning.

Jones said the two pitchers, McLain Skinner and Cassidy Creed, both threw well during the tournament.

“Both pitchers did a great job on the mound,” Jones said. “Both pitchers kept us in just about every game. They’ll get better.”

LaGrange will jump right into its Region 1-AAAAA schedule on Tuesday when it visits Hardaway, and it will be back home on Thursday for a region game against Carver.