COLUMBUS – The LaGrange Grangers were on the verge of pulling off a big region road win on Monday, but they were unable to finish off the Northside Patriots.
Northside was down to its final out in the bottom of the seventh inning when Kenny Harrell drove a two-strike pitch into right field to tie it.
The Patriots then scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure the 8-7 victory in a Region 1-AAAAA game.
It was a tough loss for the Grangers, but they’re still in good position in the region with a 7-6 record, which leaves them in fourth place.
LaGrange and Hardaway, who are battling for the region’s fourth and final playoff spot, will play on Thursday and Friday.
Northside remained in first place in the region with a 12-3 record, and it finished off a three-game season sweep of LaGrange.
In Monday’s game, which was played in a steady rain, LaGrange had a four-run lead in the sixth inning, but Northside rallied.
The Patriots scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to get within a run, and they tied it an inning later before winning it in the eighth.
Jake Farrar had two RBI hits for LaGrange, and he was also the starting pitcher, and he threw two shutout innings before leaving the game.
Jacob Vinson was next on the mound, and he pitched into the sixth inning before leaving with one out.
Jake Howard pitched 1 2/3 innings, and Cj Harman threw the eighth inning.
Willis Kemp had a three-run triple for LaGrange, and Howard and Ben Anderson each had RBI singles.
The Grangers, after leaving runners stranded in each of the first two innings, broke through for the game’s first run in the third inning.
Howard reached on a single, and he came around to score on Farrar’s two-out base hit.
The Patriots tied it in the bottom of the fourth, but the Grangers reclaimed the lead with four runs in the fifth inning.
David Sweat reached on an error, and he scored on an RBI single by Anderson, and the Grangers led 2-1.
With two outs, Cole Freeman kept the inning alive with an infield single, and Kemp came to the plate with the bases loaded.
Kemp drove the ball over the center fielder’s head for a triple, and three runs scored to put LaGrange on top 5-1.
The Patriots answered in their half of the fifth inning to get within two, but the Grangers went right back to work with two runs in the top of the sixth.
Matthew Anderson led off with a single, and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sweat.
Matthew Anderson came in to score on Howard’s base hit, and with two outs, Farrar’s single brought in another run, and LaGrange led 7-3.
Back came the Patriots, who scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to get within one.
The damage could have been worse, but catcher Champ Willis threw a potential base stealer out for the third out of the inning, and LaGrange still had the lead.
The Grangers went down in order in the top of the seventh, and the Patriots pulled even in the bottom of the inning.
The Grangers were retired in order once again in the eighth inning, and the Patriots finished things off in their half of the inning.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Kenny Harrell’s fly ball was plenty deep enough to bring in the winning run.
LaGrange will visit Hardaway on Thursday before hosting Friday’s game.
LaGrange completes its region schedule with three games next week, one against Carver, and two against Harris County.
OF NOTE: For more photos from Monday’s game, check out facebook.com/LDNsports
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports