LaGrange playing for region championship
Published 10:13 pm Monday, September 30, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s not the way they envisioned the start of their region schedule.
After losing a 3-2 heartbreaker at Central-Carroll, the LaGrange Lady Grangers fell to 0-2 in Region 5-AAAA with a 4-3 home loss to Cedartown.
Since that rough start, though, LaGrange has been nearly flawless in region play.
LaGrange (20-8 overall) won nine of its final 10 region games to post a 9-3 record and finish second in the region to Central-Carroll.
Those two teams will play a best-of-three series for the region championship, and all of the games will be played at Central-Carroll.
They’ll play a doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 5 p.m., and if needed, a third and deciding game would be played on Thursday.
Regardless of the outcome of the series, both teams will be at home for the first round of the state playoffs.
The Lady Grangers have been getting it done in all phases of the game.
They’re hitting better than .300 as a team, and junior Camden Smith has had a phenomenal season on the pitcher’s mound.
Add it all up, and there’s a reason why LaGrange has enjoyed a wildly successful regular season that ended with nine wins in its final 10 games.
LaGrange and Central-Carroll played twice in the regular season.
In the first game, Central-Carroll scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat LaGrange 3-2.
In the rematch, Smith threw a complete-game three-hitter with 10 strikeouts as LaGrange won 2-1.
It was the first time LaGrange had beaten Central-Carroll since the teams began playing in the same region in 2015.
That was the only region loss for Central-Carroll, which posted an 11-1 regular-season region record.
For LaGrange, it helps to have Smith on the mound.
Smith has been overwhelming opposing hitters since she began starting as a freshman, and she’s having an extraordinary season.
Smith has a 15-3 record with a 1.99 earned run average, and she has 158 strikeouts in 126 2/3 innings pitched.
Smith has been backed up by an offense that hasn’t had much trouble putting runs on the scoreboard.
Leading the way is Abby Vanhoose, who leads LaGrange in batting average (.396), hits (36), RBIs (25) and stolen bases (30), and she’s second in runs scored (29).
Also enjoying a big season for LaGrange is Jacee Marable, who boasts a .390 batting average with a team-best 10 doubles, and she has 17 RBIs.
Malone Aldridge is having a monster season as well with a .376 batting average, and she has 23 RBIs, 20 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases.
One of LaGrange’s hottest hitters of late is catcher Holly Lynn, who is hitting .366 with a team-best six home runs, and she has 20 RBIs.
Madison Dennis is hitting .337 with 21 RBIs with two triples and two home runs, and she’s tops on the team with 30 runs scored while also stealing 22 bases.
Camden Smith is also getting it done at the plate with a .333 batting average, and she has two home runs and 16 RBIs.
Kirsten Williams is hitting .292 with 11 RBIs, and Macee Stone has a .273 average with six RBIs.
Mariana Ceja has also contributed offensively with nine hits and five RBIs.