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LaGrange one win from region title

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

A slow start didn’t derail the LaGrange Lady Grangers.

After falling behind 4-0 in the third inning of Monday’s showdown against Columbus in the Region 2-AAAA tournament at Shuford Fields, LaGrange came charging back to claim a 12-4 victory.

LaGrange followed that up with a 13-1 win over Shaw to improve to 2-0 in the tournament and move to within one win of a region championship.

LaGrange will play again at 6 p.m. on Wednesday against one of the other surviving teams in the region tournament.

LaGrange is unbeaten against region opponents in the regular season and the tournament, but head coach Gabby Heath said there can’t be any let-up now.

“We’ve played all these teams already, and we’ve beaten these teams, but that doesn’t mean when we show up on Wednesday and we’re not locked in that they can’t beat us,” Heath said.

For a while, it looked like Columbus might be capable of pushing LaGrange, but what was a competitive game turned into a blowout.

LaGrange tied it with three runs in the bottom of the third inning before breaking it open with seven runs in the fourth inning.

When LaGrange scored twice in the fifth inning, the game ended because of the run rule.

LaGrange banged out 15 hits, and everyone in the lineup had at least one hit.

LaGrange is a veteran team with six seniors in the lineup, so there was no panic after Columbus surged to the lead.

“We could have let down, and let our nerves get the best of us, which in the past we would have, but we’re more seasoned, and they have way more experience,” Heath said. “They were able to bounce back. They have more confidence in themselves to be able to do that.”

Madison Dennis helped lead the offensive attack with three hits including a double, and she had four RBIs.

Camden Smith, who was the winning pitcher, had three hits and two RBIs, and Jacee Marable had two hits with a double and two RBIs.

Kirsten Williams had two hits and an RBI, Holly Lynn had a double with three RBIs, Kaylee Bryant had two hits, Abby Vanhoose had a double, and Malone Aldridge had a hit and a walk.

Smith pitched all five innings to get the complete-game victory.

In LaGrange’s second game against Shaw, there was no suspense.

The Lady Grangers started quickly with three runs in the first inning, and after scoring a single run in the second inning, they ended it with four runs in the bottom of the fourth.

LaGrange only had four hits, but it took advantage of some wildness from Shaw’s pitchers to walk 11 times.

Aldridge had a big game for LaGrange with a triple and a double and three RBIs, and she had two walks and two runs scored.

Vanhoose, hitting in the leadoff spot, had a hit while also walking twice and scoring two runs.

Dennis had a hit and a walk and an RBI, and Mariana Ceja had a hit.

Lynn walked twice, and Smith, Bryant and Williams each walked once.

Smith pitched all four innings and held Shaw to three hits and an unearned run.