LaGrange has seven players named to Georgia Dugout Club All-State teams, two more named honorable mentions

Published 12:27 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

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The LaGrange baseball team had seven players named to the Georgia Dugout Club all-state teams, with a further two garnering honorable mention status.

“It’s very rare to have this many players recognized on the all state team,” LaGrange coach Donnie Branch said.

The Grangers had two pitchers — Trevor Booton and Robbie Parker — make the teams for completely different roles. Booton was the team’s ace, and the recent graduate has been a starter since his sophomore season. Parker was the team’s no. 1 relief pitcher and despite dominating in his limited appearances on the mound, Branch hopes to keep in that role as he supplies top quality defense at shortstop, where he has started the last two seasons. While Booton is off to Auburn this fall, Parker will be back and expected to have another big season in his final campaign with the team as he is set to be a senior.

Joining them on the first team was Trey Cook (designated hitter) and Seth Stargell (outfield). Both recent graduates provided steady offense for the Grangers since getting their first big opportunities with the team in their sophomore years. Despite making the team for his offensive talents, Cook was an important piece of the pitching staff the last two years, starting both game ones in LaGrange’s back-to-back state championship appearances. Cook passed on opportunities to play college baseball, but Stargell will be suiting up for Albany State next season.

The Grangers had three players named to the second team, with only one (Caden Wood) returning next season. Wood was the team’s No. 3 starting pitcher this season behind the two senior stars, but Wood still came through time and again for the Grangers, even pitching a quality game three in the 2023 state championship series versus North Oconee. Wood will be expected to take on an even bigger role next season with the top two pitchers departing.

Cole Garner played just one season at LaGrange after transferring in from Northside but made an instant impact. He slotted in as the team’s starting catcher and never missed a beat. He also produced one of the most memorable moments in program history when he produced a walk-off in game two of the 2023 AAAA state championship series. Preston Pressley also made the second team for his exploits in his senior campaign. The second baseman came into his own on offense and defense this season and will depart to play baseball for Gordon State.

The Grangers will also have two players returning that made the honorable mention list. Tanner Langley and Gryson Cockrell — both outfielders — will be returning for their senior and junior years, respectively. Langley broke out in his junior year and has already committed to playing baseball at Georgia Southern when he finishes high school baseball. Cockrell worked his way back from a major injury he suffered in 2022 to produce a big sophomore campaign. More will be expected of both players as they transition into true veteran roles on the team. 

“When we play for the state championship two years in a row, it means we have very good players, and it also means that those players get individual recognition,” Branch said. “Team success leads to individual honors. I’m proud to be a Granger.”