Breakthrough win for Grangers
Published 11:37 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
One run was enough.
John Morgan delivered a phenomenal pitching performance, and freshman Will Alford had a solo home run in the fifth inning as LaGrange (1-4) blanked visiting Columbus 1-0 on Wednesday.
It was a much-needed win for the Grangers, who lost their first four games of the season against a formidable slate of opponent.
“I’m just happy for them,” LaGrange head coach David Smart said. “They’ve gotten better every time out, and they played pretty good last night (against Northside) and came up short. We finally were able to get one tonight.”
Morgan, who was a standout pitcher for a LaGrange team that reached the state semifinals last season, had his way with the Columbus batters.
Morgan needed just 73 pitches to make his way through seven innings, and he held Columbus to five hits and didn’t walk anyone.
Morgan said the game plan was to “just attack the zone keep people off the bases, and keep the freebies down.”
Trent Grantham was also effective for Columbus, and he gave up three hits in six innings.
One of those hits, though, was a big one.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth inning, Alford drove the first pitch he faced over the left-field fence for a home run.
Alford put what he learned in his first at-bat to good use.
“The first at-bat it was a middle-away fastball, and I popped it up to center,” Alford said. “The next one was basically the same thing, just a little more in, and I got it.”
Seth Prather and Wesley Kuhn had LaGrange’s other hits.
Columbus had men on base in the final two innings, but LaGrange’s defense was up to the challenge.
In the sixth inning, Ben Schorr reached base after getting hit by a pitch, but he was thrown out by catcher Trent Bailey for the third out.
In the seventh inning, Coleman Strother led off with a single.
Next up was Mike Ramsey, and he got a bunt down that was fielded by Morgan, and the pitcher whipped a throw to shortstop Cole Freeman for the first out.
Morgan made another huge defensive play when he picked Ramsey off first, and just like that the bases were empty with two outs.
On the game’s final play, LaGrange third baseman Charles Crawford fielded a ground ball, and first baseman Perry Prather made a nice scoop on a once-bounce throw for the third out.
For the first time this season, the Grangers got to celebrate a victory, and they enjoyed the moment.
“It means a lot,” Alford said. “We’ve been playing so hard the last couple of games, and we haven’t had things going our way.”