With the winning run standing on third base, the LaGrange High senior stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday’s game against Russell County.
Todd’s task was to find a way to bring John Sweat, who led off the inning with a walk, home and give the Grangers a win in the opening game of the LaGrange Toyota Invitational.
Todd was faced with a two-strike count when he got a pitch he could handle, and he dropped the ball into right field to give the Grangers a 2-1 win.
With two strikes, Todd said “I had to choke up and spread out and at least get the ball in play. That’s what I did.”
Todd was facing Will Ziebol, a side-winding hurler who had only given up one hit and no runs since coming into the game with no outs in the bottom of the fourth.
“He’s a really good pitcher,” Todd said. “I just had to wait for it and throw my hands at a fastball.”
LaGrange head coach Todd Herrington said Todd had a great approach.
“He found a way. He didn’t try to pull it,” Herrington said. “We try to teach them to work the middle of the field, and that’s what he did.”
Todd’s hit made a winner of senior Mitchell Donahue, who pitched a complete game while allowing just six hits.
Russell County scored its lone run in the sixth inning, but Donahue stranded a runner on second to get out of the jam with the game still tied.
The Grangers only managed two hits against a pair of Russell County pitchers, but they did enough to get the win after opening the season with a pair of one-run losses.
“It was not a pretty win. It was an ugly win, but we’ll definitely take it,” Herrington said. “I thought we should have hit a little better. We’ve got to get better there. We’re going to see that (level) of pitching and better. We have a lot of work to do there.”
The Grangers scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the second without getting a hit.
Jake Norton was hit by a pitch, and he was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Drew Eady before eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
It looked like that one run might be enough, but Russell County broke through in the sixth.
With two outs, B.J. Brooks reached on an infield single, and he was brought home on a double by Trent Belcher.
Russell County threatened to take the lead in the seventh after getting the first two base runners on, but Donahue worked out of trouble to keep the game tied.
The Grangers manufactured a run to win it in their half of the seventh.
Sweat walked, and Chase Pardue’s sacrifice bunt moved him to second.
After Sweat moved to third on a groundout by Zach Giddens, Todd won the game with his soft liner that fell just beyond the reach of the second baseman.
“I’m happy with (the win), but at the same time, I’m not satisfied,” Herrington said. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”
LaGrange will play its second tournament game today at 8 p.m. against Crisp County.