LaGrange softball pulls out doubleheader sweep over Rose-Hulman in first ever meeting

Published 9:04 am Thursday, March 2, 2023

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From LaGrange College athletics

LAGRANGE, Ga. – LaGrange (4-8, 0-0 CCS) pulled out a one-run victory late and held on for a two-run decision in a doubleheader sweep of Rose-Hulman (1-4, 0-0 HCAC) as they notched 3-2 and 7-5 wins in NCAA Division III softball action on Wednesday, March 1.


Following a pair of 1-2-3 innings in the first, the Panthers would break through in the bottom of the second as sophomore outfielder Abby Vanhoose (LaGrange, Ga.) laced a one-out triple down the right field line. Freshman outfielder Abby Hefner (Talking Rock, Ga.) then brought her home for a 1-0 lead on a groundout.

The teams would combine for the just one hit over the next two innings before the Fightin’ Engineers pushed across a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 advantage. Pheobe Worstell and Jadyn Winkler each doubled around an out and Kennedy Michnewicz singled home the latter to account for the scoring.

It would not take long for LaGrange to answer, however as Hefner delivered a leadoff single up the middle to start the home half of the inning and then advanced to second on a groundout. Freshman designated player Katelyn Minnihan (Stockbridge, Ga.) then doubled to center to score her and knot it up at 2-2.

LC would set down the side in order in the top of the sixth and that set the stage for freshman first baseman Isabelle Herren (Buford, Ga.). She proceeded to crank a two-out solo shot deep over the centerfield fence for a 3-2 lead. RHIT then surrendered back-to-back walks and made a bevy of position changes before inducing an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

Rose-Hulman threatened in their last ups as Worstell doubled to left to leadoff the inning and moved to third on a fielder’s choice by Ashley Pinkham. With two chances to tie the game, including one without benefit of a hit, they would fail to do so with a line drive out to center and a liner to left to end the game and lock up the 3-2 decision.

Worstell had two of the Fightin’ Engineers four hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored while Winkler was 1-for-3 with a double, RBI and run scored. Michnewicz had the only other hit and RBI and Pinkham threw 5.2 innings, allowing all three earned runs while striking out four to fall to 0-1 on the year.

The Panthers would produce only six hits, by six different hitters, a group that would be led by Herren with her solo homerun for an RBI and run. Hefner and Minnihan had the other RBIs with the latter delivering a double.

Vanhoose rounded out the offense with her triple and run scored as part of a 1-for-2 day and freshman pitcher Claire Chamberlain (Rome, Ga.) was the beneficiary of those outings as she threw her fifth complete game in six starts. She allowed just four hits and two earned runs to go with three strikeouts to improve to 3-3.


Neither team would be able to find their footing in the first inning but that would be something that would change quickly as the teams hit the second. A one-out throwing error put Pinkham on and she would move to third on an ensuing double by Winkler before Michnewicz brought her home with a single to left. With runners on first and third and one out, the Fightin’ Engineers would once again not be able to capitalize as the Panthers go out of the inning with a strikeout and popout.

The home half of the inning would open with a single to right by Vanhoose but follow with back-to-back outs. The second of those would be a groundout by sophomore second baseman Kenzie Hornsby (Tallassee, Ala.) that moved the Vanhoose to second. Unlike their opponent, LC would come through in the clutch as senior third baseman Reagan Gunter (Villa Rica, Ga.) singled her home before being thrown out at second to end the inning.

It would not stay knotted at 1-1 for long, however, as the teams combined for five runs in the third. RHIT would get that started as they took advantage of a dropped fly ball off the bat of Lexi Fortuna, who then moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a sacrifice bunt. A pitching change would not yield the desired results as Nicole Lang and Worstell ripped back-to-back doubles to go up 3-1 before a grounder and strikeout ended any further threat.

LaGrange would answer right back in the bottom of the third as senior designated player Maggie White (Alabaster, Ala.) powered a one-out double to left center and junior first baseman Marley Smith (Smithfield, Ga.) singled her to third.

She then stole second to put both runners in scoring position and freshman shortstop Kelsea Moody (Johns Creek, Ga.) dribbled one back to the pitcher to score White. Herren then did exactly the same thing to bring home Smith to tie it up. A Vanhoose fly ball moved Moody to third and Herren followed her with a steal to turn a single by Hefner into a run producer that gave the Panthers back the lead at 4-3. Despite a steal by Hefner they would do no more damage as RHIT got out of the inning with a strikeout.

They would not be so fortunate in the fourth, however, as they squandered a pair of two-out singles and would pay for it in the bottom of the inning. That would take the form of Gunter reaching on a dropped fly ball and a Minnihan walk before a groundout moved them both up a bag. Smith would then come through with an RBI double and Moody grounded to short to plate Minnihan for a 6-3 advantage before a strikeout closed the frame.

The Panthers would then add on when Vanhoose got on with a leadoff single and made her way around the bases on an error, groundout and steal of home to push to a four-run margin. After escaping first and third, Rose-Hulman delivered three straight hits to begin the top of the seventh.

That would see Lang single to center and then score all the way from first on a Worstell double down the left field line to cut it to 7-4. A Pinkham single to center then put runners on first and third and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Winkler.

LC would get her to fly out to center for the first out before Michnewicz reached on a fielder’s choice to score Worstell to pull to within 7-5. That would be as close as they would get though as Morgan Joyce grounded out to second to close out the two-run victory.

Worstell would lead the way for the Fightin’ Engineers as she went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a run scored and Lang was 2-for-3 with a double, RBI, walk and two runs. Michnewicz finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Fortuna was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Baylee Uhrick went three innings and allowed four earned runs and nine hits to suffer the loss and fall to 1-2.

Smith delivered a 2-for-4 day that included a double, RBI and run scored and Vanhoose was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs. Moody finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run and Hefner, Gunter and Herren each had an RBI. Herren would throw 2.1 innings and not allow an earned run while Minnihan threw 4.2 innings of relief.


The Panthers return to action from March 4-5 when they head to the Triangle Softball Classic for four games. They will take on Mary Baldwin (2 p.m.) and Randolph (4 p.m.) on Saturday, March 4 before facing Salem (10 a.m.) and Eastern Mennonite (12 p.m.) in Raleigh, N.C.