For the LaGrange Grangers, the story behind last weekend’s baseball tournament is one the scoreboard won’t tell. The Granger team fought hard to earn a 0-4 record and overall last-place ranking in the 2018 La-Grange Toyota Invitational.
Rebounding from a 10 – 0 defeat to Pace (Fla.) in the opening round, the Grangers roared back in two of their best showings of the year. After losing a game-long lead to Johns Creek in the seventh inning, LaGrange took The First Academy (Fla.) to the wire in another extrainning thriller. It was in Saturday’s nailbiter that the Grangers wrote their story.
The Grangers, having led most of the game, surrendered two runs in the fifth before tying the game at 22. On-looking fans, remembering their team’s late-game defeat the night before, prayed for a close sixth inning.
It never came. The First Academy soared past La-Grange, amassing four runs and taking the lead 6 -2. Anxious spectators watched in hushed disappointment as the Grangers failed to answer.
It would only get worse. The Grangers’ odds became increasingly improbable as The First Academy sailed to a 7 -2 lead before finishing at bat in the seventh. Now down by five, the Grangers faced an impossible feat. Prior to Saturday’s game, LaGrange had failed to score five runs in a game. Now, in order to keep their hopes alive, they had to score five in one inning.
And as fans looked on with an encouraging acceptance of defeat, the Grangers defied all odds. To the drumming and chorus of shouts from the dugout, LaGrange staged a comeback.
Scoring more points than they had all year, the Grangers tied the game 7-7 and electrified the stands with Granger spirit.
With a tied game, two outs, and the bases loaded, the Grangers struck out with the game on the line. Unable to carry their momentum into extra innings, LaGrange fell to The First Academy 9-7. They would later fall to Venice 9 -2.
While the Grangers may not have ended with the record they wanted, the team’s improvement commands attention.
LaGrange coach David Smart praised his team’s fighting spirit and remains confident that they will only get better. Granger fans hope to see their team’s improvement in their next game as LaGrange faces off on the road against Smiths Station at 5:00 PM, Wednesday, March 7.