Tough ending for LaGrange

Published 11:54 pm Monday, October 2, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It’s not the way they wanted it to end.

The LaGrange Lady Grangers had a terrific regular season, posting a 16-9 record while finishing third in Region 5-AAAA.

Unfortunately for the Lady Grangers, that success didn’t carry over into the region tournament.

Facing Cedartown on Monday, LaGrange’s season ended with a pair of losses on its home field.

After losing the first game of the doubleheader 4-1, LaGrange had to win the second game to keep the series alive.

LaGrange rallied late after falling behind by seven runs, but it was Cedartown hanging on for a 10-6 victory to win the best-of-three series.

Cedartown advances to the state tournament, while LaGrange’s season ends with a 16-11 record.

Five of LaGrange’s starters on Monday were freshmen, including Camden Smith, who threw two complete games.

Despite the inexperience, the Lady Grangers were one of the top teams in a region filled with quality ball clubs.

“We have a lot of young kids, and I know this feeling is something they never want to feel again,” LaGrange head coach Gabby Heath said. “This will drive them to come back harder.”

While most of the players will return, LaGrange is losing two seniors, Shaq Sutton and Christyauna Beasley.

“They’ve both been a part of the program for five years,” Heath said. “We’ll miss them.”

LaGrange struggled defensively in both games.

In the second and deciding game, LaGrange committed eight errors, and it had four errors in the first game.

Because of the defensive miscues, only two of the runs Cedartown scored in the two games were earned.

“We gave them too many outs, and they capitalized on it,” Heath said. “They hit the ball really well, and we gave them more opportunities to hit. They came to play.”

In the second game, LaGrange was trailing 9-2 when it scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Jacee Marable, one of LaGrange’s talented freshmen, had a two-run double that drove in two runs.

Next up was Beasley, and she got a bunt down and beat the throw to first, and two runs ended up scoring when a Cedartown player threw the ball away.

Cedartown got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by Makenzy Youngblood, so LaGrange came to bat in the seventh inning needed four runs to tie it or take the lead.

Destiny Fitzpatrick and Katelynn Mobley both reached on singles, but they were left stranded.

Even in losing, Heath said she was proud of her team’s fighting spirit.

“That’s the best thing about this team, never have they not competed,” Heath said.

Fitzpatrick finished the game with three hits, and Mobley and Marable each had two hits.

Sutton, Malone Aldridge, Hannah Karcher and Kadaysha Griffin each had one hit.

In the first game, it was tied 1-1 when Cedartown took the lead with a run in the top of the fifth, and it added two more runs in the sixth inning.

Marable had LaGrange’s lone RBI in the second inning, with her groundout bringing in Mobley, who reached on a double.

Fitzpatrick and Karcher each had two hits, and Aldridge and Mobley had one hit apiece.