As long as the last out hasn’t been recorded, there’s still hope.
That was the thinking among the LaGrange Grangers in the final inning of Saturday’s game against Bartram Trail (Fla.) in the LaGrange Toyota Invitational.
As Ben Anderson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, LaGrange was staring at a 6-3 deficit.
Anderson hit the ball on the ground, and he dropped the bat, put his head down and motored toward first base.
Anderson beat the throw for an infield hit, and the Grangers were still in it.
“That got us going,” LaGrange coach Todd Herrington said.
An inning that began with Anderson’s infield hit ended with Jackson Shelnutt delivering a game-winning base hit, giving the Grangers a 7-6 victory.
The win allowed the Grangers to finish the tournament with a 2-2 record, and they finished in fifth place.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Herrington said. “Going 2-2 in this tournament is great for us. And we were in the other games. We had chances in those games.”
Early on against Bartram, it looked like LaGrange could be on the receiving end of a blowout.
“We came out really flat,” Herrington said. “There was no energy.”
It was still 6-0 when LaGrange pushed three runs across in the fifth inning.
“All the sudden, around the middle of the game, the energy started coming,” Herrington said. “We started getting base runners on.”
Jake Howard, LaGrange’s starting catcher, did some terrific work in relief to keep the game within reach.
Howard came into the game in the top of the fourth inning, and he didn’t allow any runs.
“He throws in the bullpen. He’s in pitching shape,” Herrington said. “What a versatile player.”
LaGrange opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over Cartersville on Thursday, and it lost to Spanish Fort (Ala.) 6-3 on Friday.
Saturday morning, LaGrange lost to North Florida Christian 7-4.
That loss put LaGrange in the fifth-place game against Bartram Trail, which finished with a 1-3 tournament record.