Top Seeded No. 23 LaGrange Upset 7-3 by Maryville in CCS Tournament Opener
Published 5:22 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023
Top seeded No. 23 LaGrange (27-14, 13-5 CCS) could not rally from a midgame offensive burst as No. 6 Seed Maryville (24-15, 6-12 CCS) pulled the upset with a 7-3 victory in the opening game of the 2023 Collegiate Conference of the South Baseball Tournament on Thursday, May 4.
The Panthers would threaten in the bottom of the second with three singles but it would be MC that would break through in the top of the third. In that frame they would plate a pair of runs as Colin Dunworth notched a one-out single, moved to second on a single by Gabriel Lopez and third on a wild pitch. He would then swipe home when Lopez stole second and the latter would cross home plate on a double to left by Christian Carlton for a 2-0 lead.
Maryville would make it 4-0 in the top of the fourth as two singles and a bunt loaded the bases with no outs. From there Zac Graham poked a single through the right side to score one and Lopez reached on a fielder’s choice to plate the other.
LaGrange would bounce back in the home half of the frame as a leadoff error followed by a walk and sacrifice bunt put men on second and third. Freshman first baseman Brody Hollingsworth (Powder Springs, Ga.) then lofted a sac fly to center to score senior catcher David Smigelski (Canton, Ga.) and sophomore outfielder Jorge Fragoso (East Point, Ga.) singled through the right side to cut it to a two-run deficit before a fly out ended the inning.
The fifth for the Scots would mark their third straight frame with a pair of runs as Will Hubbell made his way around the bases after a leadoff single, eventually scoring on a passed ball, before Max Bowers delivered a sac fly with two outs to extend to a 6-2 margin. Senior third baseman Joe Ruth (Chiefland, Fla.) would duplicate the latter with a sac fly of his own in the bottom of the inning to cut it to a three-run spread.
It would stay that way over the next three frames as the clubs combined for just two hits. That would change in the top of the ninth as MC added an insurance run as Ashton Whiteaker singled with one out, moved to second on a Bowers single and scored on a Dunworth single with two outs. That 7-3 margin would be all the Scots would need as they limited the Panthers to just a single in the home half of the inning to lock up the upset victory.
Lopez led Maryville with a 3-for-5 day that included a walk, run, RBI and a pair of steals while Whiteaker went 3-for-5 with two runs. Bowers finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and Dunworth was 2-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. Carlton had a double and RBI and Graham accounted for the other RBI. Kyle Timko hurled the first six innings, allowing just one earned run and seven hits to improve to 4-4 and Xavier Resto threw three innings of scoreless, one-hit ball to lock down his second save.
Fragoso anchored the Panthers’ offense with a 3-for-4 day that included an RBI and Hollingsworth and Ruth had the other RBIs. Freshman shortstop Jackson McElvy (Kennesaw, Ga.) rounded things out with a walk as part of a 2-for-4 day and junior pitcher Ethan Fry (Kennesaw, Ga.) gave up six runs and struck out seven in 4.1 innings to fall to 4-4.
The Panthers will now play in the losers bracket of the inaugural CCS Tournament and will face the loser of No. 2S Belhaven and No. 5S Covenant. That game is slated for 11 a.m. with home field yet to be determined.