LaGrange survives game three

Published 11:31 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2019


Daily News

Facing the pressure of an elimination game, the LaGrange Lady Grangers came through like champs.

LaGrange and Denmark split a doubleheader on Tuesday, setting up Wednesday’s winner-take-all game in the Class AAAA first-round playoff series.

With Camden Smith delivering a dominant effort on the mound and the offense banging out 13 hits, LaGrange eased to a 9-2 victory to advance to the round of 16.

LaGrange will be back home for the next round against Shaw, and that series begins on Tuesday.

If LaGrange beats Shaw, it will advance to the state quarterfinals in Columbus.

LaGrange won the series opener 7-0 before Denmark earned a 4-2 win to force a game three.

Wednesday’s game was tight early, but LaGrange scored the final six runs to win going away.

“We were better today than we were yesterday by far, even in the first game that we won,” said LaGrange head coach Gabby Heath. “Offense, defense, everything was so much better. I feel like after we lost that second game yesterday, it was a wakeup call. We have to compete every day, and not just show up.”

For Heath, securing a state-playoff win is a testament to the dedication the players have shown.

“I’m super-proud,” Heath said. “They’ve put in the commitment, and they’ve put in the time.”

Jacee Marable, one of six juniors on the team, said she’s “extremely proud of my team.”

“We’ve put in the work,” Marable added. “We started working a week after we finished (the 2018 season), and I’m really proud of how we came together.”

Camden Smith, after throwing 12 scoreless innings in the first two games of the series, was sharp again on Wednesday.

Smith gave up a two-run home run in the second inning, but she was untouchable outside of that. Smith threw a complete-game one-hitter, and she only issued one walk.

Offensively, it was a breakout game for LaGrange.

Abby Vanhoose had two of LaGrange’s hits, including a two-run home run that got the scoring started in the first inning.

Leadoff hitter Malone Aldridge had two hits with a double, and she drove in two runs.

Kaylee Bryant, the number eight hitter, had two hits and two RBIs, and Smith helped herself with two hits and an RBI.

Holly Lynn had a hit and an RBI, Kirsten Williams had a triple that led to a run, Madison Dennis had a hit and a walk and two runs scored, and Jacee Marable had two hits.

LaGrange grabbed the early lead, with Vanhoose coming through with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.

Denmark answered with a two-run home by Kiersten Bell in the top of the second inning to deadlock the score at 2-2.

It didn’t take the Lady Grangers long to reclaim the lead, this time for good.

Bryant reached on a one-out single in the bottom of the second, and after moving up on a Williams bunt, she scored on an Aldridge base hit to give LaGrange a 3-2 lead.

LaGrange picked up an insurance run in the fourth inning.

Williams drove the ball down the right-field line and raced all the way to third for a triple, and she scored on an Aldridge sacrifice fly.

LaGrange busted it open in the fifth inning with four runs.

Vanhoose and Marable led off with back-to-back singles, and Lynn and Smith followed with consecutive RBI hits to push the lead to 6-2.

Two batters later, Bryant lined the ball up the middle for a two-run single, and LaGrange was ahead 8-2.

LaGrange capped the scoring in the sixth inning.

After leading off with a double, Dennis stole third, and when the throw from the catcher went awry, she came home with LaGrange’s ninth and final run.

Smith worked a perfect top of the seventh, and the celebration was on.

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