Lumpkin County Miners sweep Rabun in senior softball action
The Seniors of Swing, Lumpkin County’s two senior softball squads the Lumpkin County Miners and the Dahlonega Gold, geared up for their next Clayton League games when they took to the diamond for some non-league action on Wednesday, May 29.
Showing why they are currently sitting atop the Sal DeVito Division in the Clayton League standings, the wily and crafty pitching of Jimmy “Four Quarters” Dollar and Larry “The Rocket” Rodgers combined with the murderers row of the Miners’ offensive lineup proved lethal when Lumpkin County faced off with the Rabun County Relics for a non-league doubleheader at the Ruby Fulbright Center Softball Complex in Clarksville.
The Miners received a gem of a game from Dollar on the mound in game one of the doubleheader. With help from his defense, Dollar held the Relics to eight total runs in the ballgame.
While the defense was limiting Rabun’s run production, Lumpkin’s offense exploded for 22 runs in game one. The Miners’ lineup, top to bottom, had a field day against the Relics’ starting pitcher.
After falling behind 1-0 off a Rabun inside-the-park home run in the first inning, the Miners went to work at the plate. Lumpkin got a RBI triple to the gap in left center from Wayne “Happy Feet” Richards, a run-scoring single up the middle off the bat of Larry “Motoring” Morton and a RBI fielder’s choice by Dollar in the top of the second. The three-run inning gave the Miners their first lead of the game.
The Miners refused to relinquish the lead for the remainder of the contest. Shortly after the Relics cut the Lumpkin advantage to 3-2 in the bottom of the second, the Miners scored five runs in the top of the third to extend their lead to 8-2. “Hammering” Harvey Schmedlapp got the top of the third started off with a solo bomb over the wall in centerfield to put Lumpkin up 4-2. Richards came through later in the inning with a RBI bloop single that found some space in right center to up the lead to 5-2. Lumpkin also received a RBI singles from Jerome “The Jackhammer” Kitchens, Jeff “Cool as Ice” Cassella and Dollar in the inning.
The Relics showed a bit of fight in the bottom of the third and cut the Miners’ lead to 8-5 with a three-run inning, but Lumpkin’s offense was far from cooling down and the Miners scored another four runs in the top of the fourth. The inning was highlighted by a two-run shot over the left field fence off the bat of Paul after a RBI triple by Schmedlapp and gave the Miners a 12-5 advantage.
The Relics would score just three more runs in the game, all of which came in the bottom of the fifth.
While the Relics struggled to get runs, the Miners went on to score 10 more runs in the game. Lumpkin scored once in the top of the fifth off a Casey Brooks triple, once in the top of the sixth off a RBI sacrifice fly from Kitchens and added another eight runs in the top of the seventh.
The powerful showing at the plate combined with Miners’ solid defense and Dollar’s wily pitching allowed Lumpkin to take game one by a final score of 22-8.
The Relics didn’t fare much better against the Miners in game two of the non-league doubleheader, despite showing fight.
Rabun once again jumped out to an early 1-0 to start game two, but the Miners were able to score three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-1 advantage. The Miners added to their lead in the top of the second.
After holding the Relics scoreless in the top of the inning, the Miners busted out for a five run inning in the bottom of the frame to extend their lead to 8-1. Kitchens led off the inning with an inside-the-park home run. Cassella doubled to left center and Rodgers, the Miners’ pitcher for game two, singled to give Lumpkin runners at first and third. John Daley struck out for the first out of the inning before Brooks blasted a RBI double to center that drove in Cassella from third. Wayne Gaddis followed with a two-run single to left field before Schmedlapp lined out to the shortstop for the second out of the inning, putting the Miners up 7-1. Joe “Nitro” Nelson added one more run to the scoreboard in the inning with a RBI single to right field, giving Lumpkin a commanding 8-1 advantage.
Rodgers kept the Relics in check in the top of the third, allowing a single run off two hits, and the Miners received a two-run double off the bat of Cassella in the bottom of the third to allow Lumpkin to extend its lead to 10-2.
Rabun slowly chipped at the Lumpkin lead through the course of the next few innings and found themselves down by just two runs at the end of the top half of the sixth inning. However, a three-run monster shot off the bat of Schmedlapp in the bottom of the sixth restored Lumpkin’s command on the ballgame.
The Relics trailed the Miners 17-12 going into the final inning and were only able to muster one run off a RBI double before the Lumpkin defense shut them down and sealed the victory.
The 17-13 win in game two allowed the Miners to sweep the Rabun Relics for the second time in two weeks, as Lumpkin swept the Relics in Clayton League play the previous week.
While the Miners enjoyed a sweep over Rabun County, the Dahlonega Gold found themselves in two close battles when they traveled to Meeks Park in Blairsville, Ga. to square off with the Tri-State Pickups in a non-league doubleheader.
The Gold broke an offensive funk that has hampered them since the start of the 2019 season and plated a total of 32 runs during the doubleheader versus the Pickups.
However, the bats of Tri-State were able to produce a bit more in both of the two non-league games to pull off a sweep of the Gold. The Pickups survived a surge from the Gold’s offense in game one to eke out an 18-12 victory and pulled off another close win in game two when they outscored Dahlonega 25-20.
Despite being swept by Tri-State, the Gold’s talent began to shine through in the competitive non-league set. If Dahlonega can continue to tap into that talent and become more consistent at the plate and on defense as the season progresses, they could find themselves climbing their way out of the basement of the Sal DeVito Division of the Clayton League standings.
The LC Miners (8-2) will look to further separate themselves from the rest of the Sal DeVito Division when they take to softball field #5 at the Rabun Parks Department in Clayton, Ga. to square off with the Lake Keowee Lakers today, June 5th.
The Lakers (6-4) come in to the matchup sitting in second place in the Gordy Scargle Division. The Lakers are two games behind the first place Hendersonville Sluggers (8-2).
The Dahlonega Gold will get the chance to improve on their league record of 1-9 and exact revenge for getting swept by Tri-State in its non-league doubleheader when both teams take to the diamond at Meeks Park for a league doubleheader today, June 5.
The Pickups (6-4) come in to the game in second place in the Sal DeVito Division, two games behind the Miners.
First pitch for game one of both the Miners’ and the Gold’s respective Clayton League doubleheaders is scheduled for 10 a.m.