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Grangers’ Morgan shines in loss

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

COLUMBUS – LaGrange High’s Matthew Morgan has proven himself to be an effective big-game pitcher over the years, and that trend continued in Monday’s showdown against the Columbus Blue Devils.

Morgan delivered a superb performance, but it wasn’t enough to keep LaGrange (5-6 overall) from falling 1-0 in its Region 2-AAAA opener.

Morgan allowed just four hits during his 5 2/3 innings, and the lone run Columbus scored in the fifth inning was unearned.

“He did a good job. He’s been in a lot of big games,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in him. We didn’t do our best defensively to help him, and his pitch count got high, which wasn’t good. But he was really good. He made a bunch of big pitches when he got in trouble. That’s what he does. He was about like I thought he’d be.”

That LaGrange lost despite the stellar work of Morgan was a testament to the performance of Columbus’ Will Nobles.

LaGrange was unable to get anything going offensively against Nobles, who threw a complete-game two-hitter.

Seth Stargell and Trey Cook had LaGrange’s hits

“Their pitcher was good,” Branch said. “I wasn’t real pleased with the job we did against him. I thought we had some innings where we got ourselves out and helped him, but he is good. He’s been really good for them. He’s a quality guy.”

LaGrange will host Columbus on Wednesday.

“Columbus High has always been a tough place to play,” Branch said. “And they’re still good. They play a really good schedule, so their record isn’t great, but it didn’t fool me. I know they’re good.”

Branch is hopeful the change in location for Wednesday’s game will make a difference.

“Granger Park is a pretty tough place to play, too, and I expect our guys to come out and play really well Wednesday,” Branch said.