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Big day for Grangers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY 

Daily News

They went to work early.

The LaGrange Grangers have struggled offensively at times this season, but they had no such issues in Friday’s Region 5-AAAA home game against Chapel Hill.

The Grangers scored six runs in the first inning, and they rolled from there to a 9-2 victory to improve to 1-2 in the region.

It was a much-needed win for the Grangers, who were coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes on Wednesday.

LaGrange led 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Cartersville won it on a walk-off home run.

Two days later, the Grangers were back on the field, and they took care of business early on the way to the key region win.

“The last game was pretty tough losing in the last inning,” said Trent Bailey, LaGrange’s senior catcher. “It was exciting to come out today and score six in the first inning, and just be able to have a lead like that and keep pushing.”

Wesley Kuhn did a lot of the damage during the first-inning rally with a three-run home run that sailed over the center-field fence.

Cole Crawford had two hits including an RBI single, Cole Sanders knocked in a run with a base hit, Will Alford had an RBI double, Mason Green had a hit, a walk and two runs scored, and Charles Crawford had an RBI groundout.

While the Grangers enjoyed plenty of offensive success, they got it done on the pitcher’s mound as well.

Charles Crawford got the start, and he was superb, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and Jake Cardwell finished things off on the mound.

Crawford missed significant time with arm soreness after making some strong starts early in the season, and having him back strengthens what was already a solid pitching staff.

“He’s been a good starter for us, so we’re glad to have him back, and he was good today,” Bailey said.

It was a complete effort LaGrange, which can even its region record with a road win over Chapel Hill on Monday.

“We needed a win, we got a win,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “The kids played hard. They were having fun.”

After Crawford set Chapel Hill down in the top of the first inning, LaGrange put six runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning.

With two outs, Sanders put the Grangers on the board with an RBI single, and two more runs scored when Crawford reached on an error when the ball deflected off the shortstop’s glove.

That brought Kuhn to the plate, and he launched the ball into the night and over the center-field fence with plenty of room to spare, and LaGrange led 6-0.

The Grangers tacked on another run in the second inning.

After Green walked, he scored from first on an Alford double, and the Grangers were up 7-0.

The Grangers scored their final two runs in the fourth inning.

Charles Crawford knocked in a run with a groundout, and Cole Crawford followed with an RBI double to give the Grangers a 9-0 cushion.

With two outs in the top of the sixth, Cardwell came into the game with two men on and two outs.

After walking a batter to load the bases, Cardwell got a strikeout to end the threat.

Chapel Hill scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh inning when a ball was misplayed on the infield.

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