Cole Garner steals the show in opening game of LaGrange Toyota Invitational as Grangers outlast Winter Park

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023

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A damp and rainy evening did little to slow the LaGrange baseball team down as they rode a late offensive surge to a 7-2 win over Winter Park in the opening game of the annual LaGrange Toyota Invitational on Thursday. 

With tarps on the field all day, the infield was kept in good condition and the game was played under the lights at Granger Park. 

The Grangers got the scoring started when Tanner Langley grounded into a fielder’s choice, which allowed Trey Cook to score the opening run. The Wildcats struck back with a run in the top of the third, but the tie would not last as Cole Garner belted a home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the third inning. 

Once again, the Wildcats had an answer and hit a solo home run of their own over the left field wall in the top of the fourth. A half inning later, LaGrange retook the lead on a Langley sac fly that drove in his second run of the game to make 3-2 Grangers.

LaGrange added two runs in the bottom of the fifth when Cooper Stephens hit an RBI double and then later made his way home on a wild pitch. 

The Grangers added a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when Garner drove in a run on a single followed by Kayden Sutton scoring on a wild pitch. Garner has shined in his first season as a Granger and the senior transfer might have had his best showing yet in blue and white as he went a 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. 

Cook was the only other Granger with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Seth Stargell, Gryson Cockrell, Preston Pressley and Stephens all had a hit apiece in the game. 

It was not the most favorable conditions for pitchers, but the two LaGrange pitchers got the job done, stifling a potent Winter Spring attack. Trevor Booton got the start on the mound and controlled the Wildcats during his five innings on the mound, allowing just three hits and one earned run on seven strikeouts. Robbie Parker took the baton and pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit in an impressive showing in relief. 

LaGrange has now won six games in a row to improve to 6-1 on the season. The Grangers will face off with Mosley tomorrow at Granger Park with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 if weather permits.