The Seniors of Swing, Lumpkin County’s two senior softball teams the Lumpkin County Miners and the Dahlonega Gold, both completed the Clayton League 2019 season last week and will now prepare to take part in the Clayton League Championship tournament.
The Miners went into their final league doubleheader of the season against Tri-State with a slim lead on the Pickups for the top spot in the Sal DeVito Division of the Clayton League standings when the two teams met up at Field #5 near the Lumpkin County Senior Center on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Lumpkin needed to earn a split with the Pickups in the league doubleheader in order to be crowned the Sal DeVito Division regular season champions.
The Miners got off to a great start when starting pitcher Larry “The Rocket” Rodgers set Tri-State down in order in the top of the first inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, Lumpkin’s powerful lineup exploded for five runs to take an early 5-0 advantage.
Casey “Boomstick” Brooks started the inning with a double to right field. In”Vince”able Adams followed with a RBI single to left that scored Brooks and gave the Miners a 1-0 lead. Jeff “MVP” Olsen didn’t leave Adams on base for long, as he crushed a pitch down the right field line that the Pickups’ outfield had trouble getting to. Tri-State’s difficulty getting the ball resulted in a two-run, inside-the-park home run for Olsen and extended the Miners’ lead to 3-0. The Miners’ lineup didn’t let up. Don “Powerhouse” Paul belted a double to left field and scored a Lumpkin run when Wayne “Got Em” Gaddis smacked a RBI triple to deep centerfield. The inning ended with a RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Bill “Bash Em” Boyer, giving the Miners a 5-0 lead.
The Pickups got one run back in the top of the second when they scored on a RBI sacrifice fly to left field, cutting Lumpkin’s advantage to 5-1.
The Miners’ lineup continued its hot start to the game in the bottom of the second when Lumpkin scored another five runs to take a 10-1 lead over the Pickups.
Wayne “Happy Feet” Richards began the inning with a lead-off triple to the gap in left center. Jeff “Cool As Ice” Cassella followed with a single down the third base line to give Lumpkin runners at the corners. John “Da Boss” Daley followed with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Richards. After a groundout by Jerome “Jackhammer” Kitchens, Rodgers connected for a single through the left side of the infield. Brooks followed with a RBI single to center. Adams kept the inning going with a RBI single through the left side and Olsen came up big again with a RBI single through the right side of the infield to extend the Miners’ lead to 9-1. Paul completed the five-run inning with a RBI single to center, giving Lumpkin a commanding 10-1 advantage.
The Pickups’ bats started to heat up in the top of the third and Tri-State cut the Miners’ lead to 10-6 with a five-run inning.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth when the Miners struck for four runs, thanks in large part to a two-run triple off the bat of Adams. Brooks and Olsen also recorded RBIs in the inning to give Lumpkin a 14-6 lead.
The Miners’ defense held the Pickups scoreless in the fifth and plated another three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 17-6 lead. Lumpkin scored another three runs in the bottom of the sixth, extending its lead to 20-6.
The Pickups went down in order in the final inning, giving the Miners a 20-6 victory.
The win assured Lumpkin the Sal DeVito Division regular season champion title.
Tri-State’s bats proved to be a bit more potent in the second game of the Clayton League doubleheader between the two teams. In the end, the Pickups outscored Lumpkin 19-12 to earn a the win and a split of the two-game set.
Despite the loss, the Miners were excited about being the division champions and will now gear up for the Clayton League Championship Tournament.
The Dahlonega Gold’s 2019 season has been a struggled since the first game of the season. Despite having talented players, the Gold struggled to pick up league wins throughout the season.
The Gold hoped to earn its second league win of the season in its final league doubleheader of the season against the Franklin Old Bones at the Rabun Parks Department on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Dahlonega put up a good fight against the Old Bones, but in the end Franklin was able to eke out two victories versus the Gold.
Dahlonega fell to Franklin 15-8 in the first game and 20-10 in the second game of the Clayton League doubleheader.
Despite the sweep by Franklin, the Gold will now turn their attention to the first round of the Clayton League Championship Tournament.
The LC Miners (23-9) will take on the Dahlonega Gold (1-31) in the first round of the Clayton League Tournament today, Oct. 2, in Franklin, N.C.
The single-elimination tournament will determine who will become the 2019 Clayton League champions.
First pitch for the Miners and Gold matchup is set for 10 a.m.