LaGrange falls short in extra innings
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers put together a dramatic seventh-inning rally to force extra innings, but it was The First Academy (Fla.) walking away with a 9-7 victory in the LaGrange Toyota Invitational on Saturday.
It was the second consecutive extra-inning loss for LaGrange, which went 0-4 in the eight-team tournament.
LaGrange completed its tournament stay with a 9-2 loss to Florence (Ala.) later on Saturday in the seventh-place game.
LaGrange found itself trailing 7-2 when it came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning against First Academy.
The Grangers sent 10 men to the plate in the seventh, and they pushed five runs across to tie it.
First Academy reclaimed the lead with two runs in the top of the eighth, and this time LaGrange was unable to answer.
On Friday, LaGrange had a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning against Johns Creek, but it ended up losing 4-1 in nine innings.
In its tournament opener, LaGrange lost to eventual tournament runner-up Pace (Fla.) 10-0.
After Friday’s loss to Johns Creek, LaGrange was back on the field 12 hours later against First Academy, and it was tied 2-2 through five innings.
First Academy took the lead with four runs in the top of the sixth, and it added another run in the seventh to go up 7-2.
The Grangers weren’t done.
Cole Freeman had LaGrange’s only hit in the seventh inning, but there were also three errors, two walks, and one hit batter.
After the Grangers got within one, Wesley Kuhn’s RBI groundout brought in Will Flowers with the tying run.
Earlier in the winning, Charles Crawford walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run, and three other runs scored when Flowers and John Morgan reached on infield errors.
LaGrange also scored single runs in the second and fifth innings.
Freeman had a pair of hits for the Grangers, including a double, and Walton Lanier, Morgan and Crawford each had one hit.
Crawford and Flowers each had two RBIs, and Lanier, Morgan and Kuhn had one RBI apiece.
Brant Williams got the start for LaGrange, and he pitched five effective innings, and Sam Yates, Cole Sanders, Freeman and Jake Cardwell also pitched.
In Saturday’s second game, Venice scored six runs in the third inning on the way to the 9-2 victory.
LaGrange scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to avoid the shutout.
Seth Prather had two hits for LaGrange, Ben Stogner had one, and Freeman had an RBI.
Sam Yates started for LaGrange and pitched 2 1/3 inning, and Kuhn got one out before Lanier threw the final 4 1/3 innings.
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