Red-hot Grangers keep it going

Published 12:52 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – They’re enjoying life at the top.

The LaGrange Grangers began their region schedule with a home setback to the Troup Tigers, but they haven’t lost since.

LaGrange made it five in a row with a 15-5 home win over Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

The Grangers (13-7 overall) made it through the halfway point of their Region 5-AAAA schedule with a 5-1 record, and they’re in first place.

The Grangers found themselves in a 3-0 hole in the first inning of Tuesday’s game, but the way they’ve been swinging the bat, they weren’t worried.

The Grangers took the lead with four runs in the second inning, and they scored five runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth to put it away.

LaGrange has scored 48 runs during its five-game winning streak, and it has reached double digits in runs in two of those games.

As has been the case throughout the streak, the Grangers are getting contributions from hitters throughout the order.

“Everyone’s doing their part in the lineup,” senior shortstop Willis Kemp said. “We’ve got guys bunting to get on, getting steals. Everyone’s doing their part.”

One of the hitting stars on Tuesday was Ben Anderson, who was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and he hit a two-run home run during a five-run fifth inning.

Champ Willis was 4-for-5 with two RBIs, Hunter Plant was 3-for-3 with a double, Charles Crawford was 2-for-2 with an RBI, David Sweat had a hit and an RBI, and Matt Anderson drove in a run.

“Our bottom to top, everyone can hit,” Sweat said. “I think we can hit anybody that faces us.”

Matt Anderson got the start for LaGrange, and after struggling a bit in the first inning, he didn’t allow a run in the second inning.

Jacob Vinson pitched the third through fifth innings and allowed two runs, and he was the winning pitcher.

John Morgan pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Chapel Hill started quickly with two home runs in the top of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead, and LaGrange answered with a single run in the bottom of the first and three runs in the second inning.

Sweat had an RBI single in the second inning, and Matt Anderson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

After Chapel Hill came back to tie it, LaGrange exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth to reclaim the lead.

The rally began when Plant reached on a walk with two outs, and Crawford followed with an RBI base hit.

Ben Anderson then came to the plate and ripped the ball over the outfield fence for a two-run home run, and LaGrange added two more runs to take a 10-5 lead.

After Morgan threw a scoreless top of the sixth, LaGrange plated five more runs in the bottom of the inning.

Ben Anderson had a bases-loaded walk for an RBI, Willis drove in a run with a single, and another run scored on a Kemp fielder’s choice.

With the lead at 13-5, Matt Anderson reached on an error, allowing two runs to score and end the game via the run rule.

“You give up three, and two home runs, and they just responded, and found a way,” LaGrange coach David Smart said. “They came back and tied it up, and we have that inning where we scored five with two outs. That was really big.”

LaGrange will look to extend its winning streak to six when it visits Cedartown on Thursday.

“They’re working hard, and we’re just trying to pick them up as we go,” Smart said.

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