By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
LAGRANGE, Ga. – LaGrange (11-17, 5-5 CCS) earned a split as they dropped a 2-1 decision in the opener an held on for a 4-3 victory against Agnes Scott (10-20, 4-6 CCS) in an NCAA Division III softball doubleheader on Saturday, April 15.
GAME 1: AGNES SCOTT 2, LAGRANGE 1
While it wouldn't look like it early on, the teams would deliver a true pitcher's duel as they combined to scatter just seven hits and allow three total runs.
Two of those would come in the top of the first as Megan Smith opened with a single to center and then scored when Colleen Thorson reached on a throwing error and Kilee Thomas delivered an infield RBI single to make it 2-0.
The Panthers would respond in the home half of the inning after seeing a runner thrown out. That would take the form of senior catcher Maggie White (Alabaster, Ala.) lining a single to left and back-to-back walks by freshman shortstop Kelsea Moody (Johns Creek, Ga.) and freshman designated player Katelyn Minnihan (Stockbridge, Ga.) to load the bases. They would not be able to capitalize, however, as foul out to third and a fielder's choice kept it a two-run game.
And it would stay that way for the next five and half innings as the clubs combined for just three hits in that time. That would change in the bottom of the seventh but would come after two quick outs and a walk by junior second baseman Lindsey Swearngin (Tyrone, Ga.).
White would then rip a double to the left centerfield gap to score her and put the tying run in scoring position. That would be where she would stay though as the Scotties held on for the narrow 2-1 victory as they forced a pop up in the infield.
Thomas would drive what offense there was for ASC as she went 3-for-3 with the lone RBI and Smith had the only other hit. Regan Hutto would control the circle as she went the distance, allowing just three hits and a run against five walks and a strikeout to improve to 5-9.
The offense would not be much more for LaGrange as they mustered just three hits, with White going 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. Swearngin would have the other as she went 1-for-2 with a run and a walk and Moody drew two free passes. Freshman pitcher Claire Chamberlain (Rome, Ga.) delivered another impressive performance, allowing just four hits and two unearned runs – with seven strikeouts – to suffer the hard luck loss and fall to 8-6.
GAME 2: LAGRANGE 4, AGNES SCOTT 3
Both teams would get on the board early in the nightcap as Sweangin started things off for the Panthers with a leadoff walk. White would then drop down a sacrifice bunt and Swearngin moved to third on a throwing error. From there she would score on a sacrifice by Moody to make it 1-0.
The Scotties would respond in the top of the second as Kenzie Beaudoin laced a one-out single up the middle and moved to third when Gigi Elizondo doubled to the left centerfield gap. Jennifer Thames then reached on a fielder's choice, but one that wiped out Beaudoin at the plate. They would still come through, however, as Bella Leonardi singled through the left side to plate Elizondo and tie it at 1-1.
A hitless third would give way to a fourth that would see LaGrange bang out three hits and three runs to take a 4-1 advantage. Fueling that effort would be senior pitcher Abbey Gardner (Bainbridge, Ga.), who powered a double to left that advanced freshman outfielder Abby Hefner (Talking Rock, Ga.), who reached on a fielder's choice, to third.
Junior infielder Hailee Palmer (Waverly Hall, Ga.) then poked a single through the left side to score Hefner and junior outfielder Sydney Rojo (Lawrenceville, Ga.) cleared them with a two-RBI triple. A pop out would then stem the tide for the Scotties.
Leonardi would deliver a two-out triple down the left field line to give ASC an opportunity in the fifth before getting gunned out by the catcher to end the threat. They would fare far better in the sixth as two walks, two singles and a fielder's choice would plate a pair of runs to pull them to within 4-3.
With the bases loaded and one out at that point, Agnes Scott was poised to tie or take the lead – right up until Elizondo flew out to left and the runner on third was gunned out at home trying to tag up. That would be their last opportunity as the Panthers would set them down in order to preserve the narrow 4-3 victory.
Leonardi would lead the Scotties with a 2-for-3 day that included a triple and an RBI and Beaudoin also went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Ema Martin added the only other RBI and Sidney Strama allowed all four runs, three earned, along with three walks, in 3.2 innings of work to fall to 3-3.
Rojo would deliver a pair of RBIs and a triple to pace LC while Palmer was 1-for-2 with a run and RBI. Moody finished 1-for-2 with an RBI and Gardner was 3-for-3 with a double and run scored. She would also anchor the Panthers' pitching, going 5.1 innings and allowing three earned runs and six hits to move to 1-3. Chamberlain would see action again, this time coming in to record the final four outs and pick up her first career save.
The Panthers return to action tomorrow, Sunday, April 16 when they host Piedmont at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. These times are adjusted from the original schedule of 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to accommodate for severe weather moving through the area. LaGrange will recognize four seniors in White, Gardner, Jessica Coates and Regan Gunter prior to first pitch.