Softball season gets started
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They battled the summer heat, and some outstanding competition, as a new high-school softball season got underway.
The Callaway, LaGrange, Troup and LaGrange Academy softball teams each participated in the Callaway Classic that was held on Friday and Saturday at Shuford Fields.
While LaGrange played two games, both on Saturday, Callaway, LaGrange Academy and Troup played three games apiece.
It was a winning weekend for LaGrange Academy and LaGrange, who finished with a combined 4-1 record.
LaGrange, coming off a successful season that ended with an appearance in the eight-team state finals in Columbus, beat Troup and Rockmart, with Camden Smith tossing back-to-back shutouts.
Against Troup, Smith threw a two-hitter and had three strikeouts and no walks in a 5-0 victory.
Offensively, Holly Lynn and Kaylee Bryant each had two hits with Bryant driving in a run, and Madison Dennis had an RBI double.
LaGrange followed that up with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Rockmart, with Smith ending the suspense with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Smith was dominant on the mound, tossing a seven-inning shutout while limiting Rockmart to four hits.
In the seventh inning, Dennis reached on a single and stole second before advancing to third on an error, and she scored on Smith’s sacrifice fly.
Because one of the teams dropped out, LaGrange wasn’t able to play its first game until Saturday, and head coach Gabby Heath said the players had some butterflies.
“They were all really nervous for the first game,” Heath said. “It’s the first game of the season, so they had those jitters.”
LaGrange Academy, which won the GISA state championship last season, more than held its own against GHSA competition by posting a 2-1 record.
“I’m proud of the way we played against schools with two, three times the enrollment we have,” LaGrange Academy Charles Parker
On Saturday, LaGrange Academy overwhelmed Shaw 9-0, with Amber Corley and Lanie Lackey combining for the three-inning shutout.
Lackey also got it done at the plate with three hits and three RBIs, Carolyn Lehman and Kelsey Cotton each had a hit and an RBI, Natalee Waddell had two hits, and Caley Worsley drove in a run.
On Saturday morning, LaGrange Academy handled Callaway 4-2, with Corley getting the complete-game victory while giving up five hits with eight strikeouts.
Corley had two hits and an RBI, Mac Jones had two hits, and Lehman and Lackey each had a hit and an RBI.
LaGrange Academy closed with a 4-1 loss to Brookstone in a game that was tied heading into the seventh and final inning.
Lackey pitched well in the loss, and she also had LaGrange Academy’s lone RBI with a hit and Lehman had two hits.
Troup, after losing to LaGrange 5-0 and Brookstone 7-0, finished with a 15-3 victory over Trinity, and that was the first victory for Ryan Simpson as the team’s head coach.
Haley Kitchens and Maggie McDonald combined to get the job done on the pitcher’s mound, with McDonald throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings to finish it.
Jennifer Albertson had three hits with a triple, Kaleigh Rutland had two hits and an RBI, Ramsey Clark had a hit and two RBIs, Casey Sani and Kitchens each had a hit and an RBI, and Emilee Johnson drove in two runs.
Callaway, the host team, started in impressive fashion with an 18-3 win over Trinity on Friday, but it lost to LaGrange Academy 4-2 and Brookstone 13-1 on Saturday.
Against LaGrange Academy, Callaway was trailing 4-0 when it scored two runs in the top of the sixth, but it was unable to complete the comeback.
Alora Vetsavong had an RBI triple, and Lindsay Cofield also drove in a run.
Dara O’Neal pitched a complete game..
OF NOTE: For more on the performance of the local softball teams in the Callaway Classic and what’s coming up the rest of the season, see Wednesday’s sports section.