That’s not how the LaGrange Grangers wanted to start the second half of their region schedule.
Coming off back-to-back losses to LaGrange and Carrollton last week to finish the first half of the Region 5-AAAA schedule, LaGrange returned to the field on Wednesday hoping to get some momentum going with a win over Shaw.
The Grangers fought back from a 6-3 deficit to pull even in the fourth inning, but the Raiders scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and they held on for a 7-6 victory.
The Grangers, who were 4-1 in the region last week, are now 4-4 in region play, and they’re tied with the Troup Tigers for fourth place.
“We weren’t ready to play. There were a couple of innings where we absolutely looked lost out there,” LaGrange coach Todd Herrington said. “We made some errors, and we made some mental mistakes. The mental mistakes were what hurt us, defensively and on the bases. And I’m real disappointed in that.”
One of those mental errors came in the sixth inning.
The Grangers had the bases loaded with one out when Hakeem Stargell popped out to the shortstop.
A LaGrange base runner strayed too far from second base, and he was doubled off to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, the Grangers watched another great scoring opportunity pass them by.
It looked like the Grangers had tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Logan Carson, but Shaw appealed that the base runner at third left too early, and the umpires agreed, and the run was disallowed.
The Grangers also had a player picked off second base earlier in the game.
“It’s a team loss. That’s what I just told them,” Herrington said. “But no matter what, we’ve got to stick together.”
There were some bright spots for the Grangers.
Logan Hood hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and Chas Pardue and Jackson Shelnutt each had run-scoring doubles.
“That’s a positive. We did square up a lot of balls,” Herrington said. “I’m proud of our guys for that, because that guy (Mitchell Gaddis) is a good pitcher. We did swing it well. We hit a lot of them right at them, and it just didn’t fall our way as far as that’s concerned.”
On the mound, Carson was solid in relief of starter Tristain Daugherty.
Carson gave up a two-run single to the first batter he faced in the second inning, but he only allowed two runs the rest of the way.
“Logan Carson did another fine job,” Herrington said. “He has been really solid for us this year. He’s a very valuable asset.”
After Shaw scored two runs in the top of the first inning, LaGrange answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Stargell singled and Jake Farrar walked, and Hood cleared the bases with a three-run home run.
The Raiders answered with three runs in the second inning to go up 5-3, and they extended that lead to 6-3 in the fourth inning.
The LaGrange bats came to life in the bottom of the fourth.
Hood doubled with one out, and after a Carson walk, Pardue’s double cut Shaw’s lead to 6-4.
Larkin Easterwood followed with a sacrifice fly to get the Grangers within a run, and Shelnutt’s double tied it at 6-6.
In the fifth inning, the Grangers threatened again.
Farrar was hit by a pitch, and Hood followed with a base hit to put runners on first and third.
Carson came through with a flyball to centerfield that was plenty deep enough to score the go-ahead run.
After the run scored, Shaw’s appeal was successful, and the game remained tied.
Herrington didn’t think his player left early, and he argued his case with the home-plate umpire, but to no avail.
In the sixth inning, Brent Morris came through with an RBI single to give the Raiders the lead.
In their half of the sixth, the Grangers got back-to-back walks from Pardue and Easterwood leading off.
Shelnutt’s bunt put runners on second and third, and Logan Moody was intentionally walked to load the bases.
That’s when the Raiders turned the unconventional double play to get out of trouble.
Hood had a two-out double in the seventh inning, but the Grangers were unable to push the tying run across, and that was that.
LaGrange will be on the road today against Columbus before returning home on Friday to face Alexander.