Grangers overpower Hawks

Published 11:56 pm Friday, February 15, 2019


Daily News

The LaGrange Grangers shook off an early three-run deficit to thump the Hardaway Hawks 14-3 on a drizzly Friday evening.

The Hawks were ahead 3-0 after the first two innings, but the rest of the game belonged to the Grangers, who were making their season debut.

Charles Crawford had a big night for the Grangers on the pitcher’s mound, and at the plate.

Crawford entered the game in relief in the third inning, and he was untouchable.

In four innings, Crawford didn’t give up any hits or runs, and he struck out seven batters.

Crawford also excelled at the plate with four hits and four RBIs, and he ended the game with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth inning that brought the run rule into effect.

While it ended up being a comfortable victory for the home team, when Crawford made his way to the mound in the top of the third inning, the Grangers were scuffling.

Head coach Donnie Branch was relying on Charles Crawford to settle things down with a strong mound performance.

“Charles Crawford was the key,” Branch said. “He came in and we were struggling on the mound. I was bringing him anyway, but he came in in the third and he was lights out. He was really good.”

Crawford faced 13 batters, and he retired 12 of them.

Only a walk kept Crawford from throwing four perfect innings.

“I just came in and threw strikes and got in a groove, and I felt really good,” Crawford said.

Matthew Morgan had two hits and two RBIs with a pair of runs scored, and Cole Crawford had two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs.

Mason Green, Will Flowers and Cole Sanders each had a hit and an RBI. Walt Lanier had two walks, including one with the bases loaded to drive in a run, and Trent Bailey had a walk during a three-run fifth inning.

The Grangers got it done on defense as well.

In the first inning, center field Brant Williams went over the fence to save a three-run home run.

In the second inning, catcher Trent Bailey picked off a base runner for the third out.

Without those plays, Hardaway would have had a much larger lead than 3-0 after two innings.

The Grangers pushed two runs across in the third inning to get within two, and they took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

It was still a tight ballgame when LaGrange exploded for nine runs in the sixth inning, with Crawford ending it with his home run.