Late rally lifts Cougars past Grangers
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2016
LAGRANGE – They were three outs away from a big home win.
After rallying for two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Newnan Cougars, the LaGrange Grangers had a 3-2 lead.
That’s they way it remained until the seventh and final inning.
Newnan, taking advantage of a LaGrange error to start the inning, pushed two runs across to take the lead, and it held on for a 4-3 victory.
It was a one-run game, and that’s nothing new for the Grangers.
LaGrange (3-3) has now played four one-run games, and it has won two of them, and lost two of them.
The Grangers had won their previous two one-run games, but they fell short on Wednesday, and it was a tough loss to take.
The Grangers were in position to win thanks in large part to a terrific starting pitching performance from Jake Farrar, who was dominant during his six innings on the mound.
In the seventh inning, with Ben Anderson pitching, Newnan’s leadoff hitter made it all the way to third thanks to two throwing errors on the same play.
Next up was Eric Russell, whose double tied the game at 3-3.
Casey Collins got the sacrifice bunt down to move Russell to third, and Blake Crossing’s sacrifice fly gave the Cougars the lead.
“If you don’t throw and catch, you’re not going to win,” LaGrange head coach David Smart said. “It’s really that simple. You’ve got to be able to throw and catch.”
Newnan pitcher Chancellor Johnson struck out the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh, but Jake Howard kept hope alive with a double.
With the tying run on second, Johnson got a groundout to end the threat, and the game.
While the loss was a disappointing one, Smart said having the left-handed Farrar throw as well as he did was important since he’ll be counted on to be an anchor of the staff this season.
“Jake did a great job for us tonight,” Smart said. “We were really encouraged by that. I was glad to see him throw the ball well. He did a great job of competing.”
Trailing by a run, LaGrange seized the lead with a two-run fifth inning.
With two outs, it was Ben Anderson and Farrar coming through with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Grangers a 3-2 lead.
LaGrange scored its first run in the second inning.
Catcher Champ Willis walked, and his courtesy runner, Trevor Norris, stole second, and he scored when Andrew Askew reached on an error.
LaGrange finished with four hits, and Howard had two of them, and Anderson and Farrar had the others.
Leadoff hitter David Sweat walked and scored a run, and Willis reached base twice on walks, and they both led to runs.
LaGrange, which has dropped back-to-back games after a 3-1 start, will look to get things turned around on Friday when it hosts Sandy Creek at 5:30 p.m.
The game was originally going to be played on the road, but the location was changed because of concerns over Sandy Creek’s field.
LaGrange then hosts East Coweta on Tuesday before opening its Region 1-AAAAA schedule on March 10 at home against Columbus.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports