LaGrange captures region championship
By KEVIN ECKEBERRY
It was a celebration 10 years in the making.
LaGrange High’s softball team blanked Troup 8-0 on Wednesday evening at Shuford Fields to win the Region 2-AAAA championship, and it was the program’s first region title in a decade.
It was a special moment for all of the players, including a group of six seniors who have been key members of the varsity program since they were freshmen.
Seniors Camden Smith, Jacee Marable, Malone Aldridge, Abby Vanhoose, Kirsten Williams and Madison Dennis have
accomplished a lot over the years, but before Wednesday they’d yet to win a region title, and now they can cross that off their to-do list.
“It feels great,” said Smith, LaGrange’s outstanding pitcher who threw a complete-game one-hitter against Troup. “This is the first time in 10 years that we’ve won region, and this group of girls did it.”
Marable, who like most of the seniors has been starting since she was a freshman, was happy to see be able to finally be able to celebrate a region title.
“It’s a big moment. It’s special,” Marable said. “We’ve set a lot of records, and now we’ve (won region).”
LaGrange came close a year ago, but it lost to a strong Central-Carroll team in a hard-fought region championship series.
This year, LaGrange took care of business, dominating each of its region opponents throughout the regular season and the tournament.
“Last year we got our feet wet,” said LaGrange head coach Gabby Heath. “Each year they’ve gotten further, and now they’ve pushed through. I’m really proud of how resilient they are as a group, and all the hard work. I can tell you there aren’t many teams that practice three hours every day, and we’re just seeing the fruits of their labor.”
Smith has been LaGrange’s top pitcher since she was a freshman, and she has been shutting down opposing lineups for four seasons.
Wednesday’s game wasn’t an exception.
Smith took a perfect game into the fifth inning, and she gave up her only hit with two outs in the sixth inning.
Smith was backed up by some outstanding defense, with center fielder Malone Aldridge making a particularly memorable play in the sixth inning when she made a sensational diving catch that at the time kept the no-hit bid alive.
“That was a great catch,” Smith said. “She makes me look a lot better, and all the girls do.”
LaGrange did plenty of damage at the plate as well, and Smith was right in the middle of it. Smith had two hits while also reaching on a walk, and she had two RBIs.
Aldridge, in addition to showing off her skills in the field, also got it done at the plate with three hits from the leadoff position.
Marable had two hits including an RBI triple, Dennis and Williams each had two hits and two RBIs, Holly Lynn had an RBI single, and Vanhoose, Mariana Ceja and Kaylee Bryant each had one hit.
After Smith set Troup down in order in the top of the first, LaGrange went to work and scored two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Aldridge led off with a single and scored on a base hit by Williams, and a two-out triple by Marable brought in another run to make it 2-0.
LaGrange added two more runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Dennis and Lynn, and Aldridge once again got things started with a base hit.
LaGrange capped the scoring and ended the game with four runs in the sixth inning.
After Marable and Vanhoose led off with back-to-back singles, Smith drove in two runs with a single.
After Ceja and Alridge reached on base hits to load the bases, Williams and Dennis followed with RBI singles to push the lead to eight runs, and the game ended because of the run rule.
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