They don’t lack talent, confidence or players.
Third baseman Willis Kemp and the Grangers have a No. 9 state ranking this week in Class AAAAA. LaGrange High also has a date with destiny today in the State Baseball Tournament. The Grangers will open the postseason with a doubleheader at Union Grove this afternoon at 4:30.
Kemp and the Grangers have done their homework as the first round series gets ever so closer.
“We’re going to compete. We’re going to need to hit and make plays,” said Kemp, the LaGrange High junior.
Two more juniors of note for the Grangers are right fielder David Sweat and second baseman Matthew Anderson. Both players will start. Both will get a chance to make a difference against the Wolverines. Anderson and Sweat also know this is no simple assignment going over to McDonough and attempting to beat a feisty Union Grove team.
The Wolverines have a stacked lineup. They have fast runners, hard throwers, long ball hitters, and the Wolverines have the home field advantage. And playing at home in the State Tournament is something that Union Grove can rely on in every inning of this best two out of three series.
LaGrange High will still glady match its players against Union Grove’s players.
“We have a good lineup and good pitching. We will play defense,” said Sweat.
Anderson can also pound the leather. He can turn some sharply hit balls into outs. LaGrange’sAnderson has his batting stroke down, too. He knows how to hit a fastball and a curveball with some extra pizzazz.
He also likes to play baseball when the games really count, which are in the Class AAAAA postseason.
“We’re going to be intense and focused. We’re going to battle. We have a good attitude, and we’re going to hustle,” said Anderson.
But can the Grangers take two out of three games on the road against Union Grove, which is 18-7-1 on the season?
“We can go over there and play well. We’re going to need to throw and catch at a high level. We are playing pretty good baseball. The State Tournament is all about playing well at the right time,” said LaGrange Head Coach David Smart.
The team that makes the fewest errors will probably win.
“It’s not always the best team that wins. It’s the team that plays best. There is nothing like it (the State Tournament),” said Smart.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer