Late-innings magic saved Cross Creek in the opener, but the Razorbacks couldn’t even get there in the second game.
Cross Creek’s baseball team split with the LaGrange Grangers on Thursday, winning 3-2 in eight innings before losing 11-1 in five, to force a decisive third game at 2 p.m. today at Cross Creek.
The winner advances to the GHSA Class AAA state quarterfinals.
“It’s never fun to split, but we got to come out and play as hard as we can,” Cross Creek senior Jacob Lazenby said.
Behind Lazenby’s stellar pitching in the first game – he pitched all eight innings and said he would have thrown until he broke his arm – the Region 3-AAA champions were able to rally.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Grooms started the late heroics when he crushed the first pitch he saw for a
Though the game went into extra innings, the Razorbacks needed only one inning to take the opener.
Two walks – one an intentional with Grooms at the plate and the winning run on third – mixed with an error to create a bases-loaded, two out chance.
Then, with a 2-1 count, Blake Miller hit one deep enough that it would have brought in more than one run if needed.
But Cross Creek (23-7-1) was swamped early in the second game, as LaGrange scored four runs in each of the first two innings.
Miller started on the mound, but he struggled to find the plate. Though two more pitchers tried to quiet LaGrange’s bats, the runs kept coming.
Both Jack Bradford and Caleb Williams had three hits for LaGrange, and Williams began the onslaught with an RBI double in the bottom of the first.
Though the game ended ugly, Cross Creek did have chances to make it closer. There were two hits in the first and at least one baserunner in the other four innings, but the Razorbacks got just the one run, thanks in part to three double plays turned by LaGrange.
With the split, Cross Creek coach Tavis Cummings knows he’ll need a pitching performance closer to Lazenby’s in the first game than the ones he watched in the second.
“We got to find a way to stop them at the mound,” Cummings said about his team’s pitching prospects for the third game. “Just give us a chance. That’s all we ask.”