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LaGrange earns number two seed

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The LaGrange Grangers knew they needed to beat Hardaway twice last week to sew up the number two spot in the region, and they took care of business.

After winning 13-4 on Wednesday, LaGrange played its final home game of the season on Friday and handled Hardaway 17-2.

LaGrange (18-10 overall) finished with a 9-3 Region 2-AAAA record, and it will host a first-round series against Jenkins next week.

The Grangers came into the season with a lot of question marks because of their inexperience, but they’ve put together a solid spring and are ready to try to make an extended playoff run.

“We started the season with four kids that had ever been in a region game,” said LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch. “So, we’re very inexperienced, and we’re still getting better. We’ve got a chance, hopefully, to win 20 games, against a brutal schedule.”

One of the LaGrange players who did come into the season with plenty of varsity experience is infielder and pitcher Landon Tucker, and he’s “really confident” about the team’s playoff prospects.

“I’m excited to get started,” Tucker said. “I like how we match up with everyone. I like our pitching, and how we hit today. I know the competition wasn’t great, but that gives us momentum offensively going into the playoffs.”

Hardaway struck first for two runs in the top of the first, but LaGrange took control with six runs in the bottom of the inning.

The Grangers added four runs in the second inning, and they ended the game with seven runs in the third inning.

“It was a good day,” Branch said. “We got a win, and we’re in second place.”

Zack Thompson, LaGrange’s junior catcher, helped lead the offensive effort with two hits and three RBIs, and Preston Pressley had two hits and three RBIs with two runs scored.

Kevin Neighbors and Turner Cook each had one hit and three RBIs, Matthew Morgan had a hit and a walk and two RBIs, Trey Cook and Tucker each had a hit and an RBI, Ty Medders had an RBI and three runs scored, and Will Alford walked, was hit by a pitch twice and scored three runs.

Chase Williams pitched a three-inning complete game, and he gave up a two-run home run in the first inning but was dominant otherwise.

LaGrange is scheduled to play at Northside-Columbus on Saturday, although the forecast isn’t looking promising.

LaGrange will begin its playoff stay on Wednesday with a doubleheader against Jenkins.

“We can have a good playoff run if we do a lot of the little things right, and keep swinging the bats,” Thompson said.