It was one of those days.
Facing the Northside Patriots on a cold, rainy afternoon at Granger Park, little went right for the LaGrange Grangers on the way to a 5-1 loss.
It was a one-run game heading into the seventh inning, but the Patriots scored three runs in the top of the inning to create some breathing room, and the Grangers were unable to answer in their final at-bat.
The Grangers struggled to get things going at the plate with just two hits, and they had their issues on the defensive end with four costly errors.
The Grangers were coming off a strong performance in the LaGrange Toyota Invitational where they went 2-2 and competed well against some outstanding teams, and head coach Todd Herrington warned his players to bring the same sort of energy level to the Northside game.
“I sent out a text to our players. I kind of foresaw this,” Herrington said. “We just got out of that tournament atmosphere. It’s real easy for the next game or two to be a real letdown. I said, you better be ready to strap it on, because Northside is going to strap it on. And they did. They brought it.”
Logan Hood, who pitched five strong innings, was the tough-luck loser for the Grangers.
Logan Carson pitched the final two innings for LaGrange.
“I thought Logan Hood pitched plenty well enough to win,” Herrington said. “The errors forced him to go deeper in his pitch count.”
The outcome was still very much in doubt when the Patriots came to the plate in the top of the seventh.
After an RBI single pushed the lead to two, the Patriots scored two more runs when a fly ball was dropped.
All three runs came with two outs.
“That top of the seventh sucked any kind of wind out of us that we did have,” Herrington said.
LaGrange struck first in the game with a manufactured run in the third inning.
Logan Hood reached on an error leading off, and Jeremy Harper followed with a sacrifice bunt.
After courtesy runner Bradley Fincher made it to third on a passed ball, he scored when a sharply-hit ball by Jackson Shelnutt was misplayed by the shortstop.
Northside answered with a run in the fourth inning to tie it, and it took the lead when a run scored on an error in the fifth inning.
The Grangers got their first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth when Shelnutt came through with a two-out single, but a runner was thrown out at third on the play for the third out.
LaGrange had another chance in the sixth inning.
Logan Moody led off with a single, and Tristain Daugherty’s groundout moved him to second.
Two batters later, Caleb Buchanan walked, and Jake Howard was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.
Freshman Ben Anderson then hammered the ball to the right side, but the line drive was caught by the second baseman for the second out.
“I felt good about him being in that spot,” Herrington said of Anderson. “He’s been swinging the bat well for us. He gives us a chance.”
LaGrange will try to get back on the winning track when it visits Harris County today.
“I hope we learned a lesson. We were flat,” Herrington said. “There were times where we had some energy in the dugout, but for the most part we were flat. And I hope our guys understand that.”
Herrington added that “physical errors, we can correct. The energy can not slump. We absolutely have to bring that energy every game.”