Stephens walk-off give LaGrange a win in 15-inning thriller

Published 10:33 pm Thursday, April 4, 2024

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It was a marathon of a baseball game at The Branch on Thursday as LaGrange hosted Woodward Academy for a game that lasted 15 innings and over four hours as a nice sunny day transitioned to a brisk night while the teams battled it out on the diamond. The Grangers rallied late to send it to extra innings and finally found the winning run on a walk-off single from Cooper Stephens to come away with a 7-6 victory. 

LaGrange had numerous chances to win the game, but could never find the winning run in regulation. It started in the bottom of the seventh when Robbie Parker was tagged out at home on a passed ball for the third and final out of the inning which sent the teams to the eighth tied at three runs apiece.

The Grangers got a runner in scoring position with no outs and loaded the bases with two outs in the 10th, but once again came up short.

LaGrange loaded the bases once again in the bottom of the 11th and once again were left wondering what could have been as the team could not deliver the decisive hit.

Eventually, Woodward Academy broke through with a two-run homer in the top of the 13th which looked like it would be the winning play of the game.

It would not in fact be the winning play as the Grangers extended the game with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Grady Westmoreland reached on an error that allowed a run to score and make it 5-4. Gryson Cockrell scored later in the inning on a passed ball to tie the game and send it to the 14th inning. LaGrange had another chance to win the game in the 13th but left the winning run on third base.

It stayed 5-5 until the 15th inning when the War Eagles scored a run in the top of the inning.

Westmoreland tied the game back up with a one-in single in the bottom of the inning which set up Cooper’s walk-off.

For most of the game, it was a real pitcher’s duel. The War Eagles eventually broke through in the top of the fifth, taking a 2-0 lead before adding a third in the sixth. It could have been more for the away team, but Cooper Stephens made a play at the plate to keep a fourth run off the board.

LaGrange eventually got its offense going too and scored a run in the bottom of the sixth when Westmoreland hit a one-run single.

The Grangers eventually tied the game at three runs each in the seventh. It started when Robbie Parker hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run. Cockrell hit a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat to get it all knotted up.

Parker got the start on the mound and gave LaGrange a solid six innings, striking out nine on just eight hits allowed. Rob Skinner pitched the following five innings, allowing just five hits. Westmoreland played shortstop to start the game, moved to third when Skinner went on the mound and then promptly pitched the final four innings, striking out seven while allowing just two hits.

Westmoreland had a big game from the plate as well, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and three stolen bases. Mason Calhoun, Brandon Bennett, Parker and Skinner all had two hits as well. Tanner Langley and Kayden Sutton had one apiece.

LaGrange is now 18-7 on the season. The Grangers will be back in action on Friday on the road to Harris County.