Walk-off win for Grangers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
He was a walk-off hero.
Trent Bailey, LaGrange High’s senior catcher, came through with a game-winning, two-out double in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift his team to a dramatic 7-6 win over the visiting Cedartown Bulldogs on Monday.
Mason Green reached on an infield single with two outs, and he reached second when the throw to first went awry.
That brought Bailey to the plate, and he drove the second pitch he faced to the fence in left field, and Green raced home with the winning run, setting off a raucous celebration on the field.
It was a key win for the Grangers, who won their fifth consecutive game to improve to 5-2 in Region 5-AAAA.
LaGrange will try to stay hot when it visits Cedartown on Wednesday, and it finishes the week with a home game against Northgate on Thursday.
“Each game is bigger than the next,” Bailey said. “That’s what coach (Donnie Branch) always tells us. That was a big game for us. We needed to win.”
Bailey certainly did his part.
In addition to his game-winning hit, Bailey also picked a base runner off at second, and he threw a man out at third base to end the top of the sixth inning. The pitch from Landon Tucker got away from Bailey, but he pounced on the ball and whipped the throw to third baseman Charles Crawford to easily nail the runner.
“As big as Trent’s at-bat is, he picked one off of second and threw one out at third,” Branch said. “He’s gotten like six guys in the last three games. Those plays, he’s killed other team’s rallies.”
After making the strong throw to third to end the inning, Bailey gave a couple of fist pumps before sprinting back to the dugout.
“I got pumped up,” Bailey said. “It happened where I blocked it up good enough where I could throw him out.”
Cedartown pitcher Tyler Gosdin got the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, and Green kept the inning alive with a superb at-bat.
After fighting off a tough two-strike pitch, Green hit the ball on the ground to the left side, and he likely would have made it to first even if the throw had been on-target.
The throw was way off the mark, though, and Green was able to stroll into second base.
After taking a fastball for a ball, Bailey had a good idea what might be coming for the second pitch of his at-bat.
“They’d been throwing me curveballs all night,” Bailey said. “I was sitting on it.”
Landon Tucker got the win in relief of Jake Cardwell, and he was terrific.
The sophomore threw three innings, and he held Cedartown scoreless on four hits with a pair of strikeouts.
“Landon was huge,” Branch said. “Landon, for a 10th-grader to come in there, and with an umpire that had a tight strike zone, he did a great job.”
Offensively, the Grangers banged out 10 hits, with Green leading the way with three hits, and Walton Lanier and Will Alford each had two hits.
Lanier, LaGrange’s leadoff hitter, had a walk in addition to his two hits, and he scored two runs and had an RBI.
Alford, who had one of LaGrange’s two doubles, drove in two runs, and Green scored three runs.
Charles Crawford found his way on base four times with a hit and three walks, and he had an RBI.
Cole Sanders and Brant Williams each had a hit, and Will Flowers was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in a run.
Cedartown plated a run in the top of the first inning, and LaGrange took their first lead with three runs in the bottom of the second.
Williams reached on a two-out bunt single, and he scored on a Lanier base hit.
After Green singled and Bailey walked, Alford’s bases-loaded walk brought in another run to give the Grangers a 2-1 lead.
Green later scored on a passed ball, and the Grangers were ahead 3-1.
Cedartown scored a single run in the third inning, and it took the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth.
The Grangers, trailing by three, got one of those runs back in the fourth inning.
Alford doubled, and he scored on Crawford’s RBI single.
LaGrange tied it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Lanier and Bailey walked, and Alford’s RBI single got the Grangers within a run.
Crawford was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Flowers stood in and was hit by a pitch to drive in a run and tie it.
The Bulldogs got two men on in the top of the seventh but were unable to score, and the Grangers won it in their half of the inning.
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