LaGrange looks to build on win
Published 9:23 pm Monday, March 25, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a devastating loss.
Leading 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of last week’s game against Cartersville, the LaGrange Grangers lost 2-1 on a walk-off home run.
As painful as that setback was, though, LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch felt it gave his players a boost to come so close to beating the state’s second-ranked Class AAAA team.
“They took that loss really hard, but it gave them a piece of confidence,” Branch said. “That’s one of the top teams in the state, and we really outplayed them.”
Two days after that loss, LaGrange returned to the diamond and overwhelmed Chapel Hill 9-2.
It was a much-needed victory for a team that has struggled to find success against a power-packed slate of opponents this season.
“We’ve been in so many absolute dogfights, to where any little thing gets you,” said Branch, whose team is 6-14 overall.
Having a rare blowout victory allowed Branch to get a lot of players some time on the field, including freshman catcher Zack Thompson who made his varsity debut.
“We got to play 15, 16 kids,” Branch said. “I got to play my backup catcher, who’s been dying to play.”
Trent Bailey is LaGrange’s starting catcher, and he was more than happy to take an inning off to allow Thompson to get some playing time.
“Zach’s probably the hardest worker that I’ve met in a while,” Bailey said.
Today, LaGrange can even its Region 5-AAAA record at 2-2 with a road win over Chapel Hill.
The teams were supposed to play on Monday, but the game was postponed because of weather concerns.
They’ll play today instead, with first pitch set for 5:55 p.m.
That will be the first of three region games this week for LaGrange, will also plays Sandy Creek twice.
LaGrange visits Sandy Creek on Wednesday before hosting Friday’s game.
Also this week, Troup and Cartersville will face off in a matchup of the teams that tied for the region championship last season.
Troup hosts Cartersville on Wednesday, and the scene shifts to Cartersville for Friday’s game.
Troup and Cartersville both went 11-1 in the region last season, and they split their two games with each other.
Cartersville was awarded the number one seed because it had the edge in the run differential in the two games.
Cartersville is 3-0 in the region, while LaGrange is 2-0 in region play after beating Central-Carroll twice last week.
The region’s seven teams are fighting for four state-playoff spots.
Overall record first followed by region record:
Cartersville 14-3, 3-0
Troup 5-11, 2-0
Cedartown 9-7, 2-1
LaGrange 6-14, 1-2
Chapel Hill 5-8, 1-2
Sandy Creek 4-19, 0-1
Central Carroll 7-10, 0-3