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LaGrange competes in tournament

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The LaGrange Grangers were flying high after getting a hard-fought win on Friday night in the LaGrange Toyota Invitational, but they met their match on the final day of the tournament.

After losing to DeSoto 13-0 in its first game on Saturday, LaGrange fell to Northside-Columbus 13-3 later in the day.

LaGrange (5-4 overall) finished with a 1-3 record in the tournament that as always had a power-packed field featuring some of the top teams and players in the Southeast.

“We can go find teams that we feel good about beating, but we choose to do this, to play against some of the best teams around,” said LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch.

The tournament, which was started by Branch, has been going on for 20 years now, and as always it features an elite field of teams.

In its tournament opener on Thursday, LaGrange hung tough with North Paulding before losing 5-3.

After beating Providence 3-1 on Friday, LaGrange couldn’t keep pace with DeSoto or Northside-Columbus on Saturday.

“I always say we’ve got seven great teams (in the field), and us,” Branch said. “And we’ve had times when we could go toe-to-toe, but it can be very humbling. It’s hard. It’s tough.”

In the 13-0 loss to DeSoto, LaGrange was limited to one hit, a single by Will Alford.

LaGrange also hurt itself with some defensive miscues that led to seven unearned runs.

Later on Saturday LaGrange played Northside-Columbus in the fifth-place game.

The Grangers had a little more success offensively, but they couldn’t slow down the Patriots’ offense on the way to a 13-3 loss.

Will Flowers had a double and two RBIs for LaGrange, and Charles Crawford had a hit and an RBI.

Mason Green, Walton Lanier and Flowers scored LaGrange’s runs.

Three LaGrange pitchers combined to give up 11 hits and 11 earned runs.

LaGrange will play Northside-Columbus, which won the Class AAAA state championship last season, again on April 11.

“We’re going to play them again, and hopefully we’ll have something for them,” Branch said.

LaGrange has a busy week on tap.

After playing road games against Upson-Lee on Tuesday and Northgate on Thursday, LaGrange hosts Spalding County on Friday.

LaGrange finishes the week with a makeup game at Griffin on Saturday.

OF NOTE: A pair of LaGrange players, Jake Cardwell and Will Flowers, made the all-tournament team.