Grangers fall short in opener
Published 11:55 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The new-look LaGrange Grangers opened their season with an 8-2 loss to Newnan on Thursday.
The Grangers reached the semifinals of the Class AAAA state playoffs last season, but many of the players responsible for that success graduated.
The few returning veterans joined with a new group of starters for Thursday’s opening game.
After falling behind 5-0, the Grangers got within three after six innings, but the Cougars added three insurance runs in the seventh inning.
The game was the start of a rugged non-region schedule for LaGrange, which will play at Cairo today and Colquitt County on Saturday.
“The plan is to compete in these games, and hopefully find a way to win a few of them, and hopefully be ready for region,” LaGrange head coach David Smart said.
In Thursday’s game, senior Ben Stogner provided one of the offensive highlights with a solo home run in the fifth inning.
It was Stogner’s first high-school home run.
Stogner also did a solid job on the pitcher’s mound, giving up one run in three innings in relief of Charles Crawford.
Newnan jumped on top 4-0 through three innings on two-run home runs by Hamilton Schubert and Lucas Mapp.
Newnan added a single run in the top of the fifth inning to take a 5-0 lead.
LaGrange got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth inning on a leadoff home run by Stogner.
LaGrange got closer in the sixth inning with a single run to cut Newnan’s lead to 5-2.
After John Morgan was hit by a pitch and Trent Bailey singled, Wesley Kuhn’s double gave the Grangers their second run.
Will Wilbanks hit a solo home run for Newnan during a three-run seventh inning.
“They’ve got a good club,” Smart said. “We’ve just got to see what we work on to get better.”
Bailey and Kuhn each had two hits for LaGrange, and Cole Freeman, Morgan and Stogner had one hit apiece.
Both of Kuhn’s hits were doubles.