The champs were a bit too much for the LaGrange Lady Grangers.
In the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs, the defending state-champion Northwest Whitfield Lady Bruins won both ends of a doubleheader on Thursday to keep their hopes for a repeat title alive.
Northwest won Thursday’s first game 1-0, and it wrapped up the series with a 5-2 victory.
In both games, LaGrange head coach Jan Jones said an inability to deliver hits with runners in scoring position was the biggest issue.
“It seemed like when we had runners on, we couldn’t do anything all the way down the line,” said Jones, whose team finished with a 20-10 record. “We have to get better at that. We have to get better under pressure getting runs across.”
In the first game, Emily Anderson was the tough-luck loser.
Anderson struck out nine and gave up just five hits, but Northwest got the win behind pitcher BriLeigh Baggett.
Baggett took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before LaGrange got a pair of one-out hits.
Baggett got the next two batters, though, to preserve the 1-0 victory.
“I felt like if we could just get them to the eighth inning, I felt like we could beat them,” Jones said.
In the second game, Northwest had a little more success offensively, and Baggett had another strong game.
Destiny Gay provided an offensive highlight for LaGrange with her second home run of the season.
Anderson didn’t get the win, but she did achieve a personal milestone when she notched her 1,000th career strikeout.
The ball was removed from play, giving Anderson a nice keepsake.
Thursday marked the end of the road for the team’s three seniors, Anderson, Karsin Spinks and Taylor Livingston.
Everyone else will be coming back, and Jones said a lot of the younger players performed admirably on the state stage.
“Our young girls stepped up and made some really good plays in the first game that kept us right there in it,” Jones said.
In the end, though, LaGrange was unable to do enough offensively to get it done.
“We played pretty good defensively, we just didn’t bring out bats,” Jones said.