Special season for LaGrange softball
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
In fast-pitch softball, how much success a team enjoys is oftentimes contingent on the proficiency of the person on the mound.
Fortunately for the LaGrange Lady Grangers, they just happen to have one of the best pitchers in the state.
Camden Smith has been getting it done since her freshman season, and she’s coming off an exceptional junior season that ended in the state finals in Columbus.
Smith’s good work didn’t go unrecognized.
Smith was a first-team selection on the all-Region 5-AAAA team, and she was also picked as the region’s pitcher of the year.
Smith, along with outfielder Malone Aldridge, also landed a second-team spot on the Class AAAA all-state team.
A handful of other LaGrange players also earned a place on the all-region team.
Those players helped the Lady Grangers enjoy one of the most successful seasons in the history of the program.
LaGrange went 24-13 and finished second in Region 5-AAAA before winning a pair of series in the state playoffs to reach the state finals for the first time in 15 years.
LaGrange lost to Heritage-Catoosa and Northside-Columbus in the eight-team state finals, putting a close to a memorable season.
Three LaGrange players, including Smith, made the all-region first team.
Other first-team LaGrange players are Aldridge and first baseman Jacee Marable.
Second-team all-region players for LaGrange are catcher Holly Lynn and shortstop Abby Vanhoose, and second baseman Madison Dennis and third baseman Kirsten Williams were honorable-mention selections.
Smith had a brilliant season, posting an 18-4 record with an earned run average a shade above 2.00.
Smith pitched 178 innings and had 207 strikeouts, and she gave up two or fewer earned runs in 21 of the games she appeared in.
In LaGrange’s final game, a 2-1 loss to Northside-Columbus in the state finals, Smith was outstanding, giving up one earned run in six innings.
In the first two rounds of the playoffs against Denmark and Shaw, Smith threw a combined 29 1/3 innings.
In those games combined, Smith had a 4-0 record, and she allowed a total of two earned runs, and they came on a home run against Denmark in the first round.
Smith was also one of LaGrange’s top hitters.
Smith hit .344 with 20 RBIs, and she had three home runs.
Joining Smith on the all-state team is Aldridge, who had a big junior season.
Aldridge hit .377 with 28 RBIs and 28 runs scored, and she led the team with 36 stolen bases.
LaGrange’s other first-team all-region player is Marable, who hit .398 with 23 RBIs and 29 runs scored.
Among the second-team all-region players is Vanhoose, who hit .368 with a team-best 30 RBIs and 35 runs scored, and she stole 34 bases.
Also making the second team was Lynn, who hit .363 with 26 RBIs while catching every game.
Dennis, an honorable-mention pick to the all-region team, hit .314 with three home runs, 25 RBIs, 34 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases.
In a 2-1 loss to Northside in the state finals, Dennis hit a solo home run.
Williams, also an honorable-mention all-region selection, hit .300 with 14 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
LAGRANGE HIGH ALL-REGION PLAYERS
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Camden Smith – pitcher
Malone Aldridge – outfielder
Jacee Marable – first baseman
Holly Lynn – catcher
Abby Vanhoose – shortstop
Madison Dennis – second base
Kirsten Williams – third base