Walk-off win for Grangers

Published 11:15 pm Friday, April 6, 2018


Daily News

It was a walk-off slam.

With his team trailing by a run, LaGrange’s Will Alford stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday’s game against Starr’s Mill.

On a 1-1 pitch, Alford got a pitch he could handle, and he made his swing count.

Alford drove the ball over the center-field fence for a dramatic walk-off grand slam, lifting LaGrange to a come-from-behind 6-3 win.

Alford was mobbed at home plate by his jubilant teammates as the Grangers celebrated a victory in a game where they trailed 3-0 after four innings.

The man of the moment was Alford, a freshman who got a chance to be the hero after the Starr’s Mill coach made the decision to walk Trent Bailey to load the bases.

The Grangers needed one run to tie it and two to win it, and they got four runs thanks to Alford.

“I was just trying to hit something hard, get it out of the infield,” Alford said.

He did a lot more than that.

“I thought it was a good pitch to hit, so I tried to hit it hard,” Alford said. “When I hit it, I thought it was going to be a fly-out to center field to tie it up.”

Instead, the ball sailed over the fence with plenty of room to spare.

“It felt great, because we got a win,” Alford said.

The Grangers got closer with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, so their deficit was just one run when they came to bat in the bottom of the seventh.

The rally started with Charles Crawford and Cole Freeman both putting down perfectly placed bunts for base hits.

Seth Prather, who had hit the ball hard in each of his three previous at-bats, moved Crawford and Freeman up a base with a groundout.

The ball was hit softly enough where the only play was at first.

“Nine out of 10 times, I’m bunting right there,” LaGrange head coach David Smart said. “But he swung the bat so well today. He had a double, a single, and a line out to first.”

Bailey was walked, bringing Alford to the plate, and the freshman came through with the game-winning blast.

The Grangers had a successful offensive day with 12 hits.

Crawford, hitting in the leadoff position, had three hits, including a double, and he scored a pair of runs.

Freeman and Ben Farrar both had two hits and a run scored, Prather had two hits and an RBI, Will Flowers had an RBI single, and Cole Crawford had a hit.

“I was proud of our at-bats throughout the game,” Smart said.

Walton Lanier was the winning pitcher.

Charles Crawford started and pitched four innings, and he limited Starr’s Mill to three hits, although two of them left the yard.

Lanier pitched three scoreless innings to get the victory.

“I was really proud of Charles, and Wilton,” Smart said. “I thought they threw the ball well. They kept us in it, and the defense was good. That’s the recipe this time of year.”

Starr’s Mill grabbed the early lead thanks to a two-run home run by Hayes Heinecke in the first inning.

In the fourth inning, Heinecke struck again with a solo home run, and Starr’s Mill led 3-0.

The Grangers got one of those runs back in the fifth inning.

With two outs, Charles Crawford and Freeman reached on singles, and Prather came through with an RBI hit to put the Grangers on the board.

LaGrange added another run in the sixth inning.

Once again the rally started with two outs.

Farrar and Cole Crawford singled, and a Flowers base hit knocked in LaGrange’s second run.

Lanier walked the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh, but he got the next three outs to keep the deficit at one run, and LaGrange won it in the bottom of the inning.

The two teams will play again today, with Starr’s Mill hosting the game at 2 p.m.

LaGrange returns to Region 5-AAAA competition on Tuesday when it hosts Troup.

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