In an ultra-competitive Region 5-AAAA, the Lady Grangers (12-8 overall) are now 6-0 after holding off the Troup Lady Tigers 5-4 Tuesday afternoon.
Troup made LaGrange work for it.
After falling behind 5-1, Troup charged back to get within a run only to fall just short.
“We were pretty sound defensively, and Emily (Anderson) was on on the mound,” LaGrange head coach Jan Jones said. “All in all, it was a good day for us.”
For Troup (8-13, 1-4), as disappointing as the loss was, head coach Blair Shimandle said it was an encourging effort against the region front-runner.
Shimandle said she told the players to not “even look at the outcome. Let’s take this into (today’s) practice, and let’s take this into the Shaw game (on Thursday) and keep going with it. I’m really proud of them.”
Troup struck first, with Alex Duncan’s RBI single scoring Amber Arnold to put the Lady Tigers up 1-0 in the first inning.
LaGrange answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, with Karskin Spinks scoring all the way from second on an infield single by MaKenzie Traylor.
LaGrange went up 2-1 with a run in the second inning.
Anderson had an infield single and Leighton Parker reached on a walk, and Bailey Parker’s infield single brought in a run.
The Lady Grangers completed their scoring in the bottom of the third.
With the bases loaded, Mary Margaret Rogers was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, and Shelby O’Neal scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 4-1.
At that point, Shimandle went to the bullpen to bring in senior Taylor Morris, who has recently returned from a broken hand.
The first batter Morris faced, Anderson, reached on a perfectly-placed bunt to drive in a run and make it 5-1.
Morris got a couple of strikeouts and a popout to get out of the inning without any more runs scoring, though.
Morris faced 12 batters, and she retired nine of them.
Shimandle started freshman Emily Green because she doesn’t think Morris is quite ready to throw a full game.
“Ultimately, we’re looking toward is she going to be healthy toward the end of the year,” Shimandle said.
Troup chipped away at the lead with two runs in the fifth inning.
With one out, Jessica Gilbert walked and Arnold reached on an infield single, and Hannah Easterwood’s sharply-hit single drove in a run to make it 5-2.
Arnold later scored on a wild pitch, and Troup was within two.
The Lady Tigers had a chance to do further damage, but a Hayley Morris fly ball was caught in deep centerfield with a couple of runners on.
Troup scored another run in the sixth.
Hanna Lane tripled with one out, and she scored on a Libby Wheeler groundout to trim LaGrange’s lead to 5-4.
Morris worked around a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth to keep it a one-run game, and Troup had one final chance in the top of the seventh.
Anderson got the first two outs in the seventh on groundouts.
Alex Duncan reached on an infield single with two outs, but Anderson ended the suspense with a strikeout.
“She kind of zoned in in the seventh inning, which I was glad to see,” Jones said of Anderson. “She was really hitting her spots in the seventh inning.”
Both teams return to the field Thursday for region games, with LaGrange hosting Columbus, and Troup welcoming Shaw.