Home runs from Cockrell and Skinner power Grangers to second consecutive elite eight appearance

Published 6:33 pm Saturday, April 29, 2023

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The LaGrange baseball team stamped its ticket to the AAAA state quarterfinals for the second consecutive year on Saturday by sweeping a doubleheader against Shaw in Granger Park. 



SHAW – 1 

After battering the Raiders in game one 11-5, the Grangers closed the series out in game two, winning 13-1 in a game that lasted just five innings.

LaGrange jumped on the Raiders early with Gryson Cockrell sending a ball over the center field wall to drive in two runs in the first inning.

“I knew I needed to pick it up after game one where I kind of struggled,” Cockrell said. “I knew that pitcher was not good enough to beat us, so I went in (to the box) trying to get a hit, and it worked out for me.”

It was a critical moment to hit his second home run of the year, and the Grangers did not look back from there, adding a third run in the inning when Preston Pressley hit an RBI single.

The Raiders struck back with a run in the bottom of the first, but LaGrange’s offense did not slow down from there, scoring two more runs in the second as Seth Stargell and Cole Garner both hit RBI singles in the inning. The Grangers tacked on another run in the third on a Stargell RBI groundout.

LaGrange’s offense could not be contained and added three more runs in the top of the fourth, all on errors as the Raiders collapsed as their season was on the brink. 

The Grangers added the final four runs in the fifth to all but put the game out of reach. It started with a Garner RBI single. Tanner Langley drove in two more with a double before Presley hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the final run of the inning.

Trevor Booton settled in nicely after allowing a run in the opening inning, commanding the mound in his four innings of work. Booton allowed just two hits on seven strikeouts. Caden Wood came in to relieve Booton for the final inning, slamming the door on any attempted rally from Shaw, striking out one and sitting down three straight batters to end the game.

After going without a hit in game one, Trey Cook went 2-for-4 with a run scored in game two. Garner was also 2-for-4 and had two RBIs and three stolen bases to boot. Presley also had two hits while Stephens, Langley, Cockrell, Stargell and Robbie Parker had a hit apiece. 



SHAW – 5

The first game of the afternoon saw the Grangers use a seven-run first inning to power past Shaw 11-5. 

While LaGrange scored seven runs early, the Raiders battled back with four runs in the second and an additional run in the third to trim the deficit to 7-5. LaGrange added a handful of late runs to put the game to bed. 

The Grangers seven run first inning was enough to power the Grangers to victory and all of those runs came with two outs. Stargell got the action started when he scored on a passed ball. Back-to-back RBI singles from Robbie Parker and Cooper Stephens gave the Grangers a 3-0 lead. Pressley drove in two runs on a double before Rob Skinner delivered the play of the game with a two-run bomb to center field to drive in the sixth and seventh run of the inning. 

“Off the bat, I didn’t think it was gone, but I heard the coaches yelling ‘get out of here’ and next thing I knew it was gone,” Skinner said. 

It ended up being the winning RBIs in what was a strong showing from Skinner from the plate as he hitting a double in the fifth to drive in a run and extend the Granger lead ro 10-5.
“It was huge to put seven runs on them in the first inning,” Skinner said. “It set the tone for the rest of the game and game two.”

Skinner was an impressive 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored in game one. 

LaGrange scored two other runs in the fifth inning to put some breathing room on the scoreboard with Stephens driving in his second run of the day on a sacrifice fly and Tanner Langley scoring on an error. 

The Grangers would tack on one more run for good measure in the bottom of the sixth as Parker drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. 

LaGrange was led to victory by its offense in game one with Garner and Stephens finishing with two hits apiece alongside Skinner to lead the way. Parker, Pressley and Stargell all had a hit each. Stargell stole three bases in the game.

Cook got the start on the mound, but the battle-tested senior did not have his usual stuff, lasting only three innings with nine hits on four strikeouts. Parker came in and settled the Grangers down, pitching a masterful four innings in which he only allowed one hit on four strikeouts.


LaGrange has now won 10 straight games and 18 of its last 19. The Grangers will either travel to Holy Innocents next week or host East Forsyth, depending on the outcome of that series.

“We will definitely have a tougher team coming up, but no team can beat us when we are playing at our best,” Cockrell said.