The Seniors of Swing, Lumpkin County’s two senior softball teams the Lumpkin County Miners and the Dahlonega Gold, both suffered sweeps at the hands of their Clayton League opponents when they stepped on to the diamond last week.
The Sal DeVito Division leading Lumpkin County Miners had their work cut out for them when they faced off with the Gordy Scargle Division leading Hendersonville Sluggers in a battle of the Clayton League’s two top teams at Field #5 at the Rabun Parks Department on Wednesday, August 14.
The Sluggers struck first with a run in the bottom of the first off a RBI single up the middle off of Miners starting pitcher Larry “The Rocket” Rodgers. The early run gave Hendersonville a 1-0 lead.
Lumpkin County answered back in the top of the second inning when Joe “Nitro” Nelson slapped a RBI double down the first base line to even the score at 1-1. The Miners added another run in the inning when Bill “Bash Em” Boyer connected for a RBI fielder’s choice. Boyer’s RBI gave the Miners a 2-1 advantage.
The Lumpkin lead didn’t last long, however, as the Sluggers heated up in the bottom of the second and put five runs on the scoreboard to retake the lead at 6-2.
The Miners got a run back in the top of the third when Jeff “MVP” Olsen hit a RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield. The third inning run cut the Hendersonville lead to 6-3.
The Sluggers lived up to their name in the bottom of the third when they recorded their second straight five-run inning. Hendersonville benefitted from six hits in the inning to score the five runs, including a two-run double to the gap in left center. The offensive explosion extended the Sluggers’ lead to 11-3.
While Hendersonville continued to produce at the plate for the remainder of the ballgame, the Miners struggled to consistently string together hits and were blanked by the Sluggers in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The failure to score runs cost the Miners game one, as they fell to Hendersonville by a final score of 18-3.
Things didn’t get off to a great start for the Miners in the second game of the league doubleheader versus the Sluggers after the game one loss.
The Miners’ defense allowed five runs to Hendersonville without recording an out in the top of the first inning with Jimmy “Four Quarters” Dollar on the mound.
The bad defensive inning gave the Sluggers an early 5-0 advantage.
However, unlike game one, the Miners’ bats got off to a strong start and Lumpkin quickly evened the score at 5-5 with a five-run inning of their own in the bottom of the first.
Olsen, Don “Powerhouse” Paul, Vince “Atta Boy” Adams, Kurt “The Big Hurt” Picker and Boyer each recorded RBIs in the inning.
The score remained the same until the top of the third when the Sluggers put together another five-run inning to take a 10-5 lead.
Once again the Miners answered right back with five runs of their own in the bottom of the third to retie the game at 10-10.
The two teams went back-and-forth for the remainder of regulation and found themselves tied at 16-16 in the bottom of the seventh.
With one out and the bases loaded, Miner Wayne “Happy Feet” Richards connected for what Lumpkin was hoping would be a game-winning sacrifice fly. But, the Sluggers’ centerfielder was able to catch the ball and rocket it to home plate before Lumpkin could score the run. The stellar defensive double play ended the Miners’ walk-off hopes and forced the game into extra innings.
The Sluggers were able to score three runs in the top of the eighth to retake the lead at 19-16.
Jeff “Cool As Ice” Cassella connected for a RBI single to left field in the bottom of the eighth, but that would prove to be the only run that the Miners could muster in the inning, allowing the Sluggers to complete the sweep of Lumpkin County.
The Dahlonega Gold didn’t fare much better than the Miners when they hosted the Tri-State Pickups at Field #5 near the Lumpkin County Senior Center for a Clayton League doubleheader on the same day.
The Gold were no match for the defensive prowess of the Pickups and were only able to score a total of seven runs during the two-game set, four in game one and three in game two.
Tri-State’s potent defense and powerful lineup combined for two lopsided wins versus the Gold. Tri-State took game one by a final score of 15-4 and game two by a final of 22-3.
The doubleheader sweep was a step back for the Gold, who had been improving each week since the start of the season.
The Miners (19-7) still sit atop the Sal DeVito Division of the Clayton League standings despite being swept by Hendersonville (24-2), and will get the opportunity to reverse their fortunes against the Sluggers when the two teams meet up for another league doubleheader on Wednesday, August 28, at Field #6 at the the Rabun Parks Department. First pitch for game one is set for 10 a.m.
The Gold (1-25) will look to secure their second league victory when they face off again with the Tri-State Pickups (17-9) for a league doubleheader on Wednesday, August 28. The Gold will look to have a better showing against their Sal DeVito Division rivals when the teams take the diamond. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 10 a.m.