LaGrange eases past Chestatee in state opener

Published 1:25 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – They made it look easy.

The LaGrange Grangers had no trouble with Chestatee on Friday on the way to a doubleheader sweep in the first round of the Class AAAA state baseball playoffs.

LaGrange, which won both games by the same 10-0 score, will be back home on Thursday to play Northside in a second-round matchup.

In the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Grangers were held scoreless through three innings, but they scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth and didn’t look back.

“We were pull happy. Everybody was not hitting at the beginning of the game, so we changed our approach up the middle,” said LaGrange’s leadoff hitter, David Sweat. “It worked out well. We were hitting the ball hard, and we made them make plays, and they made some errors. That’s the kind of team we are.”

While the hitting was there in both games, the pitching was on-target as well.

Ben Anderson pitched the six-inning complete game in the opener, and John Morgan threw all five innings in the second game.

The two pitchers combined to give up just nine hits and no runs.

The defense was also outstanding behind the pitchers.

“We came out and pitched it good, and defended really well and made some really good plays,” LaGrange coach David Smart said.

In Game 1, Kemp was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Cole Freeman was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Matt Anderson and Sweat each had a hit and two RBIs, Champ Willis drove in a run, and Jacob Vinson had a hit.

On the mound, Ben Anderson gave up four hits and one walk, and he had four strikeouts.

Smart felt Ben Anderson helped set the tone for the series.

“That first game, Ben was really good,” Smart said. “He gave us a chance to get our bats going and score some. That was a great job on his part. That first game,  you never know how things are going to go, and everybody’s feeling each other out.”

In Game 2, Matt Anderson had two hits and three RBIs, Kemp had a hit and two RBIs, Willis drove in three runs, Ben Anderson had two hits, Hunter Plant had a hit and an RBI, Sweat had two hits, and Freeman drove in a run.

Morgan was sharp on the mound, working around five hits to throw the shutout, and he only threw 57 pitches in five innings.

OF NOTE: For more on Friday’s games, check out Monday’s sports section. And for more photos, go to