Panthers enjoy winning weekend
Published 12:55 pm Monday, March 26, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The weekend started off on a losing note for the LaGrange College softball team, which fell to Piedmont 7-0 in the opening game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Panthers shrugged off that loss and enjoyed nothing but success for the remainder of the weekend, though.
LaGrange College edged Piedmont 5-3 in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, and it beat Brevard twice on Sunday.
The Panthers (11-16 overall) have won five of their past six games, and they’ve improved to 7-4 in the USA South.
The win over Piedmont on Saturday was a hard-earned one.
LaGrange College pitcher Chelsea Twardoski found herself in a lot of trouble early in the game, but she managed to escape mostly unscathed with the help of some outstanding defense behind her.
Twice, in fact, Twardoski got out of a bases-loaded jam to end an inning, keeping Piedmont from surging ahead.
Once she settled in, Twardoski retired the final nine batters she faced after giving up a leadoff walk in the fifth inning.
It was the first conference loss for Piedmont, which won its first seven USA South wins.
“We came away with a huge conference win and I was so proud of how we responded in the second game,” LaGrange College head coach Jennifer Claybrook said. “The team’s attitude in the dugout was so supportive and enthusiastic.”
Claybrook gave a nod to Twardoski, who she said “pitched an outstanding game and defensively we made plays when we had to.”
The Panthers did enough offensively in support of Twardoski.
It was tied at 3-3 when Brittany Todd came through with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Sutton Bridges knocked in a run with a base hit in the sixth inning.
Emily Barrs had three hits for the Panthers with a pair of doubles, and Carolyn Harkness and Haley Coleman each had a hit.
Twardoski worked around seven hits and three walks and gave up three runs (one earned) while striking out three.
“Offensively, we had some heads up base running and timely hits,” Claybrook said. “The coaching staff and this team have worked hard to get where we are now. The coaching staff and players appreciate the support we have received from family, the community, and the alumni. It was a fun way to finish the day.”
In Saturday’s first game, the Panthers were limited to five hits, including a double by Kelsey Dietz.
LaGrange College was back home on Sunday, and it beat Brevard 7-6 in the first game before completing the sweep with a 9-1 victory.
It looked like the Panthers were on their way to a suspense-free win in the first game after they took a 7-0 lead through three innings.
Brevard made it interesting with six runs in the top of the sixth inning, but it was unable to push the tying run across.
Josey Wessel got the final out of the sixth inning to keep the Panthers on top.
Brevard threatened again in the top of the seventh.
The first two batters reached on errors, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out.
Claybrook brought Twardoski out of the bullpen, and she responded by getting a strikeout and a pop-out to end the threat, and the game.
Barrs had a monster game for the Panthers with a double, a home run and three RBIs, and Madison Martin had a two-run single in the first inning.
Taylor Tallant added an RBI single, and Harkness had a pair of hits.
Dietz had a hit and two runs scored, and Katelin Richardson had a hit.
Emily Cauldwell started and pitched four scoreless innings to get the win, and Twardoski retired the final two batters for her first save.
Jessica Perkins, a Callaway High graduate, relieved Cauldwell and pitched 1 2/3 innings.
In the second game, the Panthers started quickly with five runs in the second inning, and they eased to a 9-1 win.
Twardoski pitched a five-inning complete game, and the Panthers banged out 11 hits.
Barrs had a two-run double in the second inning, and she finished with three hits and three RBIs.
Todd had a hit, two walks, and two RBIs, and Sydney Hodorff, Martin and Tallant each had a hit and an RBI.
Bridges had two hits, and Twardoski had one hit.
LaGrange College will look to stay hot when it visits Agnes Scott on Wednesday.
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