Upson-Lee gets best of LaGrange

Published 11:30 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Daily News

It’s been the story of the season so far.

The LaGrange Grangers have gotten quality pitching in nearly every game, but they’re struggling to find success at the plate.

That formula repeated itself in Wednesday’s home game against Upson-Lee.

LaGrange (2-8) was limited to two hits while striking out 10 times on the way to a 5-1 loss.

Upson-Lee took a 4-1 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth inning, and that was more than enough support for Alex Blount, who was sensational in securing the complete-game victory.

Matthew Morgan was the tough-luck loser.

Morgan, who is settling in as an effective member of the rotation, held Upson-Lee to four hits in six innings, and only one of the four runs he allowed was earned.

Landon Tucker pitched the seventh inning for the Grangers.

The Grangers had an opportunity to perhaps take control of the game in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with one out, but Blount got back-to-back strikeouts to end that threat.

Upson-Lee, riding that positive momentum, went ahead with its three-run rally in the sixth inning.

“We go up there (to the plate) tentative,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “We’re in a big spot, and it’s like you have the fear of failure a little bit, so you get hesitant. We had hesitant swings.”

The bright spot in Wednesday’s game was the performance of Morgan, who is part of a pitching staff that has come together nicely.

Brant Williams, Walton Lanier and Morgan all had strong starting performances in the LaGrange Toyota Invitational.

Charles Crawford hasn’t pitched recently because of arm soreness, and when he returns he’ll further fortify the staff.

Branch’s hope is that the offense will come around before the start of Region 5-AAAA play against Cartersville on March 18.

“Honestly, I feel like we’ve got six, seven games until region, and I want to be playing good by the time we get there,” Branch said.

In Wednesday’s game, Upson-Lee grabbed the lead with a run in the top of the first.

Chance Gamble led off with a double, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Joshua Keeter.

In the top of the second, a potential Upson-Lee rally was thwarted when Williams made a sensational diving catch in center field for the second out.

The Grangers tied it in their half of the third inning.

Lanier got things started when he reached on an error, with the third baseman unable to come up with the hard-hit grounder.

After Lanier advanced to second on an error, Williams put a perfect bunt down for a base hit, and the Grangers had men on first and third.

Next up was Crawford, and he put a ball in play with two strikes for an RBI groundout, and the game was tied 1-1.

With Williams on third, Blount got a strikeout and a groundout to limit the damage and keep the score deadlocked.

It remained tied until the sixth inning.

The inning began innocently enough with a flyout, but Keeter reached on an error with one out.

After a Ben McDaniel double, Brooks Gulley’s sacrifice fly gave the Knights a 2-1 lead.

Alex Blount’s double pushed the lead to 3-1, and Logan Spivey reached on an error to plate another run.

In the seventh inning, Turner Maddox’s RBI double to cap the scoring.


Wednesday’s game was the start of a stretch where the Grangers will play four home games in four days.

LaGrange plays Smiths Station today at 4:30 p.m., and Callaway on Friday at 5:55 p.m.

On Saturday, LaGrange has a make-up game against Griffin at 1 p.m.