Playoff push continues
Published 12:11 pm Saturday, April 27, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With one road playoff win under their belt, the LaGrange Grangers will try to do it again next week.
LaGrange, which beat Stephens County in the opening round of the Class AAAA state baseball tournament, will be on the road against Blessed Trinity next week.
The Callaway Cavaliers, meanwhile, will host a playoff series for the second straight week.
After sweeping Banks County, Callaway will host Model next week with a berth in the quarterfinals on the line.
The Troup Tigers would have hosted a second-round series, but they came up short in their opening-round series against St. Pius X.
In private-school baseball, LaGrange Academy will visit Twiggs Academy on Monday in the opening round of the GISA state tournament.
LaGrange, the number three seed from Region 5-AAAA, split a doubleheader with Region 8-AAAA runner-up Stephens County on Wednesday.
In Thursday’s winner-take-all game three, Charles Crawford pitched a complete game as LaGrange won 5-3 to advance.
Blessed Trinity, the champion of Region 6-AAAA, overpowered Ridgeland in its first-round series. Blessed Trinity won the series by scores of 16-0 and 11-1.
They’ll play a doubleheader on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., and if needed, a third game would be played on Friday.
“It’s hard to win on the road, but we’ve come a long way,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “We couldn’t have done this a month ago. We’re still trying to grow. I still think we’re getting better.”
Beating Stephens County was no easy task, but LaGrange was up to the challenge.
“Stephens County was good,” Branch said. “That was a very good baseball team, and they had won seven straight coming in, so they were hot. It was a toe-to-toe, every pitch. Their kids were good, and they battled. So it was tough.”
The winner of the LaGrange and Blessed Trinity series will face either Upson-Lee or Woodward Academy in the next round.
Callaway, which finished second in Region 5-AA, only needed two games to dispatch Banks County in the first round.
Callaway won the first game 11-1, and it held off a late Banks County rally in the second game to win 8-6.
Callaway’s second-round opponent is Model, which overwhelmed South Atlanta 10-0 and 24-0 in the first round.
Because Model is a number four seed, Callaway will be at home for the second round.
They’ll play a doubleheader on Thursday at 4 p.m., and if needed, a third game would be played on Friday.
If Callaway beats Model, it would face either Bacon County or Thomasville in the quarterfinals.
Callaway beat Thomasville in the quarterfinals last year before falling to Benedictine in the semifinals.
Troup’s hopes of advancing in the playoffs ended with Wednesday’s two losses to St. Pius X.
St. Pius won the opening game 6-2, and it held off Troup 3-2 in the second game to advance.
“They just outplayed us,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “They just beat us. There’s no excuses. They came in and played better than we did, and they deserved to win.”
In GISA, there are five teams participating in the Class A state tournament, and LaGrange Academy is one of them.
LaGrange Academy, the tournament’s number five seed, will play at fourth-seeded Twiggs Academy on Monday at 4 p.m.
The winner of the best-of-three series will visit top-seeded Thomas Jefferson on Friday.