LaGrange blanks Troup 5-0
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With Camden Smith delivering a nearly flawless performance on the pitcher’s mound, the LaGrange High softball team eased past the rival Troup Lady Tigers 5-0 on Monday afternoon.
Smith was almost perfect, facing two batters over the minimum, and she didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the seventh and final inning, and Troup’s other base runner came on an error.
“She is in a groove right now,” said LaGrange head coach Gabby Heath. “She’s not missing in the middle, and that’s something we’ve worked on. It’s more corners away, making them chase.”
Smith finished with seven strikeouts while not walking anyone, and 62 of the 86 pitches she threw were for strikeouts.
LaGrange got the job done at the plate as well with nine hits, and Abby Vanhoose had four of those hits with an RBI and two runs scored.
Madison Dennis had two doubles with one RBI and two runs scored, and Jacee Marable, Holly Lynn and Smith each had one hit.
For Troup, Jennifer Albertson had Troup’s lone hit when she drove a two-strike pitch into the outfield for a single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Smith retired the final batter of the game on a flyout to Kaylee Bryant, and LaGrange had the key region win.
LaGrange (14-6 overall) improved to 5-0 in Region 2-AAAA, and it wrapped up the number one seed for the region tournament.
Troup fell to 3-1 in the region, and it will look up to wrap up the number two spot for the region tournament with wins over Jordan on Tuesday and Columbus on Wednesday.
LaGrange, which is led by six seniors who have been key members of the program for the past four seasons, has won five consecutive games, and it improved to 3-0 on the season against Troup.
As satisfying as Monday’s win was, senior shortstop Abby Vanhoose feels the team will need to take it up a notch to accomplish what it wants to in the coming weeks.
A year ago, LaGrange won two series in the state playoffs to make it to Columbus for the state finals, and the team is hoping to duplicate or even surpass that success this season.
“We’re playing good, but we always know we need to be better,” Vanhoose said. “By the time we get to state, it’ll be a much higher level (of competition). Our confidence is good, but we know we’ll need more.”
In Monday’s game, LaGrange grabbed the lead with one run in the top of the second inning.
After Dennis reached on a double, she came around to score on a Vanhoose base hit.
It remained a 1-0 game until LaGrange pushed an unearned run across in the fourth inning.
Dennis led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Vanhoose single, and Smith walked to load the bases.
It looked like Troup might get out of the inning with no damage done when it turned a double play, but when Bryan reached on an infield error, Vanhoose scored the game’s second run.
LaGrange padded its lead when two insurance runs in the sixth inning. Dennis got things started with her second double of the game, and Vanhoose dropped down a perfect bunt for a base hit, and Dennis came around to score when the throw to first went awry.
After a Smith base hit, Mariana Ceja’s sacrifice bunt brought Vanhoose home, and LaGrange led 4-0.
LaGrange capped the scoring with a run in the top of the seventh.
Marable singled to center field with one out, and Lynn followed with a base hit to put runners on first and third.
Next up was Dennis, and she reached on a fielder’s choice, and Marable scored to give LaGrange a 5-0 lead.
For Troup, Maggie McDonald got the start on the mound, and she pitched four innings and gave up one earned run on three hits.
Catherine Smalley pitched the final three innings for Troup.
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