Miners sweep Dahlonega Gold in senior softball doubleheader
The start of the 2019-20 Clayton League senior softball season has been a tale of two wildly different storylines for Lumpkin County’s two senior softball teams.
The Lumpkin County Miners, formerly the LC Purple, made a strong push in the Clayton League Playoffs last season and have continued to look like a true contender to start the 2019-20 season. The Miners have won eight of their first 10 games of the season and have recorded a league record of 5-1, with their only league defeat coming in an 18-9 loss to the Tri-State Pickups, and an overall record of 8-2.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Dahlonega Gold struggled to record wins last season and is suffering from those same struggles to start the new season. The Dahlonega Gold are currently winless so far this season in both league and non-league play.
So, when the two teams met up at Field #5 near the Lumpkin County Senior Center for a Clayton League doubleheader the Miners came into the matchup as heavy favorites over the Dahlonega Gold.
In game one of the league doubleheader the Miners displayed their offensive prowess while the Dahlonega Gold lineup failed to string together hits. The result was a lopsided 15-4 victory for the Miners.
The Miners started the game off with a four-run first inning to take an early 4-0 advantage. The Dahlonega Gold answered back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame to cut the lead to 4-1.
In the top of the second, the Miners went back to business at the plate and scored another five runs to extend their lead to 9-1. Marvin Martin, Jerome Kitchens, Jeff Cassella, Larry Rodgers and Jeff Olsen each recorded RBIs in the five-run second for the Miners.
In the bottom half of the second, the Gold’s Kurt Michel smacked a RBI single up the middle with the bases loaded to cut the Miners’ lead to 9-2. Unfortunately for Dahlonega, the bases were left loaded without another run scoring when Don Kinder popped out to third base to end the inning.
The Dahlonega Gold would score twice more in the contest. The Gold picked up a run in the bottom of the third off a RBI single to center from Frank Pellegrino and scored again in the bottom of the sixth when Jeff Maynard plated Pellegrino with a RBI sacrifice fly to left center.
While the Gold struggled to get its offense going, the Miners’ lineup crushed at the plate all game long. Lumpkin County scored two runs in the third, three runs in the fifth, a run in the sixth to score 15 total runs against the Dahlonega Gold.
One of the biggest hits of the game for the Miners came in the top of the fifth when Don Paul belted a moonshot over the fence in left center field for a three-run home run.
In the end, the Miners’ bats proved to be too much for the Gold to handle and Lumpkin County took game one by a final score of 15-4.
The Miners’ offensive production continued while the Gold continued to sputter at the plate when the two teams took back to the diamond for game two of the league doubleheader.
The Miners took an early 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning when Olsen and Wayne Gaddis both connected for RBI doubles to left field. Lumpkin County doubled its lead in the bottom of the second with a two-run inside-the-park home run off the bat of Larry Morton. The two runs gave the Miners a 4-0 lead.
But, Lumpkin County wasn’t quite done in the inning. A two-run double off the bat of John Daley and a RBI single by Casey Brooks allowed the Miners to score five runs in the inning, upping their lead to 7-0.
The Dahlonega Gold finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the third when Maynard crushed a RBI triple to deep center and Bob Burrell connected for a RBI sacrifice fly to left field. The two runs helped Dahlonega cut the Miners’ lead to 7-2.
That would be the closest the Gold would get to the Miners, as Lumpkin County scored a total of 19 more runs in the next four innings of the game. The Miners scored five runs in the bottom of the third, four runs in the bottom of the fourth, five runs in the bottom of the fifth and three runs in the bottom of the sixth to score 26 runs in the ballgame.
The Dahlonega Gold were not as fortunate at the plate and were only able to score five more runs in the game.
The end result was a 26-7 victory for the Miners, allowing them to sweep the Dahlonega Gold in the league doubleheader.
The two wins moved the Miners’ league record to 5-1 and their overall record to 8-2 while the Dahlonega Gold fell to 0-6 in league play and 0-10 overall.
The Lumpkin County Miners’ next Clayton League matchup will be against the Lake Keowee Lakers on Wednesday, May 15, at the Rabun Parks Department softball fields.
The Dahlonega Gold will look to get its offense going in hopes of picking up its first win of the season when the Gold take on the Hendersonville Sluggers in a league doubleheader also at the Rabun Parks Department softball fields.
First pitch of game one for both league doubleheaders is set for 10 a.m.