By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
LAGRANGE, Ga. – LaGrange (10-16, 4-4 CCS) earned a split against one of the top teams in the Collegiate Conference of the South (CCS) as they upset Huntingdon (23-7, 7-3 CCS) 10-2 in a five-inning opener and fell 6-2 in the nightcap of an NCAA Division III softball doubleheader on Tuesday, April 11.
GAME 1: LAGRANGE 10, HUNTINGDON 2 (5 Inn.)
The Panthers would waste no time as they did major damage over the first two innings as they staked themselves to a commanding 8-0 lead.
They would get that going in the first with a leadoff walk that was immediately followed by a run scoring double by senior catcher Maggie White (Alabaster, Ala.) and a two-out double to score her from freshman designated player Katelyn Minnihan (Stockbridge, Ga.). A pitching change would result in a hit by pitch on the first batter, followed by a bases loaded single by freshman outfielder Abby Hefner (Talking Rock, Ga.) for a 3-0 lead.
That would be a precursor to what would come in the second as LaGrange pounded out five runs on seven hits to get to that eight run margin. Doubles by junior second baseman Lindsey Swearngin (Tyrone, Ga.) and freshman shortstop Kelsea Moody (Johns Creek, Ga.) would set the tone for the inning and senior first baseman Abbey Gardner (Bainbridge, Ga.) followed with a two-RBI single to center.
After a scoreless third for both clubs, both would get on the board, beginning with an RBI double by Miranda Treadway to make it 8-1. LaGrange would then put themselves in position to end it early as junior outfielder Marley Smith (Smithfield, Ga.) ripped a two-RBI double to left to make it 10-1. The Hawks would add one, but only one, as Maddie Grace Hubbard had an RBI single to reach the final eight-run margin.
Hubbard went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI and Treadway was 2-for-2 with a double and RBI to pace the Hawks in a game their offense was largely grounded. Brooke Stefankiewicz would round that out with a 3-for-3 day and Brooke Cooper would fall to 1-2 after allowing three runs in just a third of an inning.
Gardner and Smith would each go 2-for-3 with two RBIs, the latter with a double, to lead the Panthers while Minnihan, fresh off CCS Rookie of the Week honors, went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double and an RBI. White laced a double as part of a 2-for-4 day that included two runs and an RBI and Moody had the other RBI. Freshman pitcher Claire Chamberlain (Rome, Ga.) was masterful once again, throwing all five innings and allowed just two earned runs to improve to 8-5.
GAME 2: HUNTINGDON 6, LAGRANGE 2
Huntingdon would threaten with two outs in the first of the nightcap as Bailey Murphy got hit, went to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball before Treadway walked to put runners on first and third. That would change to two in scoring position with a steal before Hubbard hit into a fielder's choice that nabbed Murphy at home.
A White double with one out and a Minnihan two out single, followed by a steal of second, gave the Panthers runners in scoring position as well but the Hawks would escape with a groundout.
That would be key as they would load the bases with one out and then deliver three runs on two hits, one a two-RBI single by Murphy, for a 3-0 lead. LaGrange would bounce right back, however, as a leadoff single by Smith with a fielding error and Swearngin bunt single put her runners on first and third. White would bring one home on a groundout and Moody another with a sacrifice fly.
It would remain 3-2 until the sixth when Huntingdon plated another run when a fielding error put Elli Lorance on and a fielder's choice by Riley Rudick moved her to second – with Rudick reaching. Both would move up on a passed ball before a double steal would see Lorance cross the plate for a two-run advantage.
They would then add a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh with a two-RBI double to the left centerfield gap by Jordan Holman and the Hawks would close out the 6-2 victory with three straight fly ball outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Murphy and Holman each went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and Lorance was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored to fuel the offense for HC. Holy Sharp lived up to her name as she threw a complete game, allowing just one earned run while scattering seven hits to improve to 5-1.
White ripped a double as part of a 2-for-3 day that included an RBI to pace the Panthers and Moody had the other RBI on a sac fly. Swearngin and Smith each went 1-for-3 with a run to round out the offense and Gardner went five in the circle, allowing four runs – none earned – and four hits to suffer the hard luck loss and fall to 0-3.
The Panthers return to action this weekend when they host Agnes Scott on Saturday, April 15 and Piedmont on Sunday, April 16 in doubleheader action. Both twin bills are slated for first pitch at 12 p.m. at the LC Softball Complex.