LaGrange’s Williams shines in 2-1 win
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
LaGrange High’s Brant Williams was up to the challenge.
Facing a formidable Upson-Lee lineup, the LaGrange pitcher delivered a masterpiece performance on the mound.
Williams pitched a seven-inning three-hitter as LaGrange (6-3) beat Upson-Lee 2-1 in a well-played, fast-paced game.
“Sometimes you pitch good and the competition isn’t that good, but that’s a big, strong, physical team, and he was outstanding,” said LaGrange High head coach Donnie Branch. “He’s really upped his game. Last year he got hurt so he only threw like 16 innings the whole year, and that hurt us.”
It was tied at 1-1 when the Grangers took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Matthew Morgan.
Williams did the rest, holding the Knights scoreless in the final two innings to preserve the win.
Williams limited the Knights to three hits, and he didn’t walk anyone while striking out eight.
“The first inning, I settled in,” Williams said. “I had my breaking ball working, and my fastball.”
Williams was backed up by a defense that was outstanding.
Shortstop Mason Green made a handful of big-time plays, and catcher Cole Crawford threw a base-runner out in the top of the seventh for the critical first out.
“Mason was really good,” Branch said. “Our only blunder cost us a run, and that was a double-play ball we didn’t turn, and we’ve been on them about double plays. But we made some really good plays, and I thought Cole Crawford played outstanding, and he made a huge play in the seventh throwing a runner out. Cole got it out quick.”
LaGrange did just enough offensively against Upson-Lee pitcher Logan Spivey, who went the distance.
Crawford had an RBI single in the second inning, and after the Knights tied it in the top of the third, the Grangers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
In the second inning, Walton Lanier reached on a one-out single, and he came around to score on a Crawford hit with two outs.
After the Knights tied it, the Grangers put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth.
Will Alford got things started with a base hit, and Charles Crawford followed with a double to put men on second and third.
Next up was Morgan, and he lined a 2-0 pitch into center field to bring in Alford with the go-ahead run.
“It was good to see Matthew Morgan come through,” Branch said. “Matthew is a really good hitter, but he has struggled. He needed something good to happen.”
After setting the Knights down in order in the top of the sixth, Williams hit the lead-off hitter in the seventh inning.
That base-runner was quickly erased, though, with Cole Crawford throwing him out on a steal attempt, with Green making a nice tag after catching the one-hop throw.
“For me, that was big,” Williams said. “(Cole Crawford) picked me up. He helped the team out of a hole. He just stepped up and made a big play. That’s what seniors do.”
Williams got a groundout for the second out, and he ended the game with a three-pitch strikeout.