On the plus side, they punched their ticket to the Class AAAA state tournament with a 7-3 victory over Fayette County on Wednesday in the Region 5-AAAA tournament at Shuford Fields.
Later in the day, though, LaGrange and Carrollton faced off in an elimination game, and this one didn’t go the home team’s way.
In a classic showdown between two outstanding teams, Carrollton pushed a run across in the top of the eighth inning to pull off a 2-1 victory.
While Carrollton still has a chance to win the region championship, LaGrange’s tournament run is over, and it will be the number four seed for the upcoming state tournament.
LaGrange will visit either Madison County or Walnut Grove, teams vying for the top seed in Region 8-AAA, in next week’s playoff opener.
After Wednesday’s tough loss to Carrollton, LaGrange head coach Jan Jones said the one saving grace is that “it’s not the last game.”
She also doesn’t feel being a four seed going against a one seed means a whole lot.
As the head coach of the LaGrange girls’ basketball team, she watched her top-seeded Lady Grangers lose a state-tournament opener.
“I’ve been the one seed in basketball and been upset by a four seed, so it’s possible,” she said.
Wednesday’s game ended in dramatic fashion.
After Carrollton scored its run in the top of the eighth, LaGrange had a chance to tie it or win it in the bottom of the inning.
Per the international tiebreak rule, each team was able to put a runner on second base to start the eighth inning.
For LaGrange, that runner was senior Savanna Wooten.
Karsin Spinks then grounded out to the right side, allowing Wooten to move to second with one out.
Shelby O’Neal then hit the ball to the third baseman, who whipped a throw to the catcher, who got the tag down on Wooten for a huge second out.
“That killed us getting that runner thrown out at home,” Jones said. “Nine times out of 10, she’s going to be safe. It’s a slow roller, and you hope she can get there. It just didn’t work out for us.”
Now with two outs and a runner on third, Taylor Livingston hammered the ball, but it went right to a Carrollton outfielder for the final out, and that was that.
Carrollton scored in the top of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Jessie Pruett that brought in Maime Crawford.
LaGrange scored its lone run in the fourth.
Makenzie Traylor was hit by a pitch leading off, and she later scored on a groundout by Lauren Robinson to even things up at 1-1.
LaGrange finished with a 1-2 tournament record after losing to Alexander and Carrollton while beating Fayette County.
Against Carrollton, Jones said “I thought they played hard. And compared to how they came out yesterday (against Alexander), and even compared to how we came out in the first game today (against Fayette County), it was much better.
“They rose up, and they played well,” she added. “They played well enough to win, and we knew it was going to come down to the wire.”
Starting pitcher Emily Anderson threw a terrific eight innings for LaGrange, and Randi Phillips went the distance for Carrollton to get the win.
In Wednesday’s first game, LaGrange found itself in an early 2-0 hole against Fayette County before charging back.
LaGrange did most of its damage with six runs in the third inning to turn that 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 lead.
Robinson led off with a base hit, and Wooten reached when her bunt was misplayed.
Spinks drove in LaGrange’s first run with an RBI groundout, and Shelby O’Neal’s triple evened the score at 2-2.
Livingston followed with an RBI single to give LaGrange its first lead, and after Traylor reached on a bunt and Anderson walked, Mary Margaret Rogers delivered a sacrifice fly, and it was a 4-2 game.
Leighton Parker walked to keep the inning alive, and Robinson’s two-run double pushed the lead to 6-2.
In the fourth inning, after Wooten led off the inning with a single and later stole third, Livingston’s RBI groundout gave LaGrange a 7-2 lead.
Fayette County pushed a pair of runs across in the seventh before Livingston, in the game in relief of Anderson, finished things off.