Grangers enjoy season finale

By Kevin Eckleberry

April 27, 2014

When Friday rolls around, the LaGrange Grangers will be faced with all sorts of pressure when they open the Class AAA state playoffs.

On Saturday, it was time to have a little fun.

In the final game of the regular season, everyone on the roster got a chance to get on the field.

The Grangers lost to the Northside Patriots 3-1, but both teams approached it sort of like a spring-training game.

“It was a lot of fun. We got everybody in the game,” LaGrange coach Todd Herrington said. “Everybody got in the same in some capacity. I was glad to be able to do that. Even the guys who don’t get to play much, it gives them some experience for the future. They’ve been in a varsity baseball game.”

The Grangers scored their only run in the third inning.

Senior Austin Rogers doubled, and he moved to third on a Jake Howard sacrifice bunt.

Logan Moody’s groundout brought Rogers in with the tying run.

It remained a 1-1 game until Northside scored two runs on three hits in the top of the seventh inning.

The Grangers got a two-out hit from Ben Anderson in the seventh inning, but he was left stranded there.

Tristain Daugherty started and pitched a couple of scoreless innings, and Sam Hacker worked the next two innings and didn’t allow an earned run.

Jake Howard didn’t give up a run in two innings, and Anderson pitched the seventh inning.

The Grangers now turn their attention to the playoffs, and they’ll visit Northwest Whitfield for a first-round series.

The teams will play two games on Friday, and if needed, a third and deciding game would be Saturday.

LaGrange finished fourth in Region 5-AAAA, and Northwest is the number one seed from Region 7-AAAA.

The Grangers had a losing record in the regular season, but they played an extremely difficult schedule, so they’re ready for whatever they’ll face in the playoffs.

“We’ve shown our guys the caliber of team we’re going to see in the playoffs,” Herrington said. “Now, it’s just a matter of getting it done, and staying together and competing.”

The Grangers, who had to win four of their final five region games to qualify for state, are back in the playoffs after missing out a year ago. “We’re happy to be here. But now, we can’t be satisfied,” Herrington said. “I’m excited for these guys to have this opportunity.”