No-hitter powers LaGrange to win

Published 12:53 pm Friday, September 15, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – In her first start of the season, LaGrange High’s Camden Smith came within one out of throwing a no-hitter.

Facing the Callaway Lady Cavaliers, Smith threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings before giving up a hit to Oeisha Jenkins, and she got the next batter to complete the 5-0 victory.

On Thursday in a critical region game against the Troup Lady Tigers, Smith once again found herself on the verge of throwing a no-hitter, and this time she finished it off.

In the top of the seventh inning, Smith struck out the final batter she faced to polish off the no-no, and LaGrange won 9-2 to improve its Region 5-AAAA record to 5-2 and remain second place.

Troup jumped on top with a pair of runs in the top of the third, but LaGrange scored the final nine runs to win going away.

Smith, who has enjoyed a phenomenal freshman season, said nobody was down after Troup grabbed the lead.

“I think what we do when we get behind, the upper-classmen all pick us up,” Smith said. “(They said) we’ve been there before. You’ve done this before. We can win this.”

LaGrange scored a run in the bottom of the third to get within run, and it took the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth inning.

The Lady Grangers broke it open with six runs in the fifth inning, and the Lady Tigers were unable to answer.

LaGrange has five region games remaining beginning with a doubleheader at Cartersville on Saturday.

Troup, which was coming off a pair of losses to Cartersville on Saturday, fell to 4-5 in the region.

Troup has three region games remaining, including Monday’s game at Chapel Hill.

LaGrange lost back-to-back region games to Chapel Hill and Central-Carroll to drop to 3-2 in the region, but it has bounced back for key wins over Cedartown and Troup.

As the regular season hits the home stretch, LaGrange has established itself as one of the region’s elite teams.

That’s particularly impressive considering so many of LaGrange’s regular contributors, including Smith, are freshmen.

Many of those freshmen have played travel ball together for years, and the whole team spent a lot of time together this summer in preparation for the season.

“I feel like all this summer we’ve really worked together, and we’ve just put it all together,” Smith said. “I feel like the more we know about each other, the better we play.”

Before the game, LaGrange’s two seniors were honored.

One of those seniors, Shaq Sutton, had the game-winning hit in the fourth inning.

It was tied at 2-2 when Sutton came up and delivered an RBI single to give the Lady Grangers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“It felt good,” Sutton said of getting the go-ahead hit. “I feel like I led my team the right way.”

Sutton has shared catching duties with Katelynn Mobley, so she has seen a lot of Smith this season, and she’s been impressed with what she’s seen.

In Thursday’s game, Smith only walked one and had six strikeouts.

“She’s grown into the role, and as we support her, she keeps getting better and better,” Sutton said.

Troup took advantage of some LaGrange defensive miscues to take the lead in the third inning.

Kayla Lane reached on an error leading off the inning, and she scored on another error when Abby Taylor’s bunt was misplayed.

Taylor later scored on a passed ball, and Troup led 2-0.

LaGrange got one of those runs back in the bottom of the third.

Malone Aldridge reached on a one-out walk, and she stole second and went to third on an error before scoring on Destiny Fitzpatrick’s groundout.

After Smith set Troup down in order in the top of the fourth, LaGrange surged to the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Katelynn Mobley got things started with a single, and Smith reached on a base hit two batters later.

Abby Vanhoose, another one of LaGrange’s freshmen, reached on an error, allowing Mobley to score the tying run.

With two outs, Sutton’s base hit brought in courtesy runner Mykeria Thomas, and LaGrange led 3-2.

Troup went down in order once again in the top of the fifth, and LaGrange exploded in the bottom of the inning for six runs.

Fitzpatrick led off with a double that missed clearing the left-field fence by a few feet.

Hannah Karcher followed with a bunt single, and Mobley’s base hit brought in a run and made it 4-2.

With the bases loaded, Vanhoose and Madison Dennis came through with back-to-back RBI singles to make it a 6-2 game.

Sutton then reached on an error to allow another run to score, and Aldridge’s RBI single pushed the lead to 8-2.

With the bases still loaded, Fitzpatrick walked to drive in a run and cap the scoring.

Mobley had two of LaGrange’s hits, and eight other players had one hit.

Sutton and Fitzpatrick each had two RBIs, and Aldridge, Mobley, Vanhoose and Dennis had one RBI apiece.

Taylor walked and had an RBI and a run scored for Troup.

Taylor pitched a complete game for Troup.