By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
BEREA, Ky. – LaGrange (9-15, 3-3 CCS) erupted for 30 runs and 25 hits in a pair of victories over Berea (1-17, 0-12 CCS), 11-0 and 19-1, in an NCAA Division III softball doubleheader on Saturday, April 8.
GAME 1: LAGRANGE 11, BEREA 0
The Panthers would get on the board first as they wasted no time in the opening frame, taking advantage of an error that put junior second baseman Lindsey Swearngin (Tyrone, Ga.) on to lead things off. A fly ball moved her to second and grounder pushed her to third before freshman outfielder Katelyn Minnihan (Stockbridge, Ga.) brought her home with a single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
They would add to that margin in the third as freshman pitcher Claire Chamberlain (Rome, Ga.) helped her own cause with a leadoff single with Swearngin following right behind her. Both would then come around to score when senior catcher Maggie White (Alabaster, Ala.) laced a double to make it 3-0 before crossing home plate herself on an error. Freshman outfielder Abby Hefner (Talking Rock, Ga.) would then push it to 5-0 with a RBI single to cap the frame.
After putting together drips and drabs over the first three innings, LaGrange would blow it open in the fourth as they exploded for six runs on six hits. Minnihan would get things started with an RBI single before junior outfielder Marley Smith (Smithfield, Ga.) cracked a two-RBI single. A fielding error at third would then plate another run and Hefner cranked an RBI double to make it 11-0.
Berea would muster just six hits on the day, with Julie Santana leading the way with a 2-for-2 performance. Aubrey Sowders and Alexa Castro-Diaz went 1-for-2 to round out the offense and Autumn Adams threw all five innings, allowing nine earned runs and striking out three to fall to 1-12.
Minnihan led the Panthers as she went a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored and White was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Hefner ripped a double as part of a 2-for-3 day that included two RBIs and Smith had two RBIs and a run. Swearngin set the table all day, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored.
In the circle, Chamberlain was masterful as she allowed just two hits and struck out six in just three innings. She moves to 7-5 on the year and freshman shortstop Kelsea Moody (Johns Creek, Ga.) threw the final two scoreless innings.
GAME 2: LAGRANGE 19, BEREA 1
LaGrange would pick up where they left off with a pair of runs in the first inning. Freshman outfielder Jaiden Gay (Guyton, Ga.) got hit and promptly stole second and third, the latter following a walk by Moody. A wild pitch would then score Gay and move Moody to third before she stole home two batters later.
Following a rare hitless inning the Panthers would make sure that wouldn't happen again as they lowered the boom in the third. That inning would see them take advantage of three errors and pound out six hits for eight runs on their way to a commanding 10-0 lead. Highlighting that outburst was a bases clearing double by junior pitcher Faith Burgamy (Flowery Branch, Ga.).
They would then tack on another two runs in the fourth with a fielder's choice by junior catcher Lindsey Green (Temple, Ga.) and RBI single by junior outfielder Sydney Rojo (Lawrenceville, Ga.) before the Mountaineers got on the board in the home half of the frame when Sowders reached on a two-base error with a runner on first.
When it came to offense, however, that would almost exclusively be the purview of LaGrange as they delivered one final blow in the top of the fifth. That would see them push across seven more runs on just three hits and three walks. From there the Panthers would set Berea down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to close out the 19-1 victory.
The Mountaineers would manage just one hit, that coming from Kirby who would also notch the only run to go with a walk. Amya Durrum threw the first four innings, allowing 13 earned runs, nine walks and eight hits to take the loss and fall to 0-9.
Green would lead the way for LC with a 2-for-3 day that would see her drive home three and score twice herself while Rojo delivered the exact same line. Burgamy would add three RBIs on a double with the bases loaded along with a walk and two runs scored and junior first baseman Hailee Palmer (Waverly Hall, Ga.) went 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs and a pair of RBIs. Moody walked twice and scored three times, as did sophomore outfielder Kenzie Hornsby (Tallassee, Ala.).
LaGrange pitching was on point with just one run and one hit allowed with senior pitcher Abbey Gardner (Bainbridge, Ga.) throwing two scoreless innings with one hit and four strikeouts. Minnihan would throw three innings of hitless relief and allowed one run with four punchouts to improve to 1-2.
The Panthers return home as they host Huntingdon on Tuesday, April 11 in Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS) action. First pitch of Game 1 is slated for 3 p.m. with the nightcap set for approximately 5 p.m. at the LC Softball Complex.