LaGrange closes in on second place

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The LaGrange Grangers know they’re going to be in the state playoffs.

Now, the objective is make sure they’ll be at home for their first-round series.

LaGrange will have a chance to make that a reality with a road win over Chapel Hill on Thursday in its final Region 5-AAA game of the season.

If the Grangers win, they’ll finish second in the region, and they’ll host a playoff series.

LaGrange maintained its second-place position with a hard-earned 4-3 win over Sandy Creek on Tuesday.

Sandy Creek scored a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game at 2-2, and LaGrange answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to reclaim the lead.

Jacob Vinson threw two scoreless innings in relief of Ben Anderson, and LaGrange walked away with the narrow win.

“You feel a lot better when you’re in control of your own destiny,” LaGrange head coach David Smart said. “Now we have a chance to have a playoff series at home. That’s big. That’s huge.”

Sandy Creek made things interesting.

While the Patriots aren’t one of the region’s elite teams, they brought a 16-12 overall record into the game.

“Everybody in the region is like this,” Smart said. “We didn’t play particularly well today. We gave them some extra outs. But we found a way. That’s kind of what this club does. We’ll find a way. Sandy Creek did a great job, and our kids battled through.”

The Grangers were limited to four hits.

David Sweat had two of those hits, including a triple in the fifth inning that led to the go-ahead run.

Charles Crawford had a triple, and Ben Anderson had a base hit.

Sweat, Ben Anderson and Matthew Anderson each had RBIs.

On the mound, Ben Anderson started and went five innings, and he gave up three runs, although just one of them were earned.

Vinson, who has been outstanding out of the bullpen all season, threw the final two innings, and he got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.

The Grangers were down 1-0 when they scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead.

Crawford got things started with a triple, and after Champ Willis walked, Sweat came through with an RBI single, and Matt Anderson had an RBI hit later in the inning.

In the fifth inning, Sweat reached on a one-out triple and scored on a Ben Anderson groundout.

OF NOTE: For more photos, check out