Huge region win for LaGrange
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The streaking LaGrange Lady Grangers shrugged off a late deficit to beat visiting Central-Carroll 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon in a critical Region 5-AAAA showdown.
Trailing 1-0, LaGrange pushed two runs across in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead, and Camden Smith worked around a leadoff single in the top of the seventh to finish things off.
LaGrange (11-6 overall) won its seventh consecutive game while improving to 4-2 in the region and moving into second place behind Central-Carroll (6-1).
“It’s very exciting,” said junior second baseman Madison Dennis, who scored the tying run in the sixth inning. “When we went there earlier this season, we should have won that one. It was pretty close. Having them come to our field and beating them, that’s exciting.”
LaGrange was in position to win thanks in large part to the effort of Smith, who threw seven dominant innings.
Smith gave up a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to Taylor Stevens, but she was mostly unstoppable outside of that, holding Central-Carroll to three hits and no walks while striking out 10.
“We as a whole team have a lot of confidence in the pitcher, because we know she’s going to hit her spots, and she’s
going to keep working, even if she has a bad day,” Dennis said.
The way Central’s Carley Fuller was pitching it looked like the 1-0 lead might stand up, but LaGrange finally figured out a way to push some runs across in the sixth inning.
Smith got things started with an infield single, and Dennis reached on a fielder’s choice before moving up two bases on wild pitches.
When Macee Stone walked, LaGrange had runners on first and third with one out with Malone Aldridge at the plate.
Aldridge hit the ball on the ground to the third baseman, and when the throw went to first for the out, Dennis took off from third base and easily scored the tying run.
That brought Mariana Ceja to bat with an opportunity to give LaGrange the lead, and she came through.
Ceja hit the ball hard on the ground and legged out an infield single, and Stone raced home from third with the go-ahead run.
LaGrange head coach Gabby Heath was proud of the way Ceja bounced back after some difficult at-bats earlier in the game.
In the fourth inning with two outs, Ceja struck out with runners on second and third.
“I praised her for that,” Heath said. “She’d had two at-bats that weren’t very good. For her to come up and square the ball up like that after failing twice was an awesome thing to see.”
Dennis finished with two hits for LaGrange.
Abby Vanhoose, Holly Lynn, Smith and Ceja had one hit apiece.
LaGrange has another key game on Thursday at Cedartown, which is 4-3 in the region.