DANVILLE, Va. - LaGrange's dream season ended at the South Regional on Saturday. The Panthers lost to Roanoke 5-2 in the first game of the day and 4-2 to Salisbury in the nightcap.
The Panthers finished 40-6, setting numerous school season records, including most wins and fewest losses. They won the USA South regular season and tournament championships and were ranked No. 1 in the nation for three weeks.
"This was just gut wrenching, because this group has battled like crazy all year but we just couldn't get it done today," said Coach David Kelton. "We had a hard time with runners in scoring position and didn't make some plays when we needed to.
"But this does not take away from the season because these guys have accomplished so much. They laid the ground work for a lot more to come I hope and I couldn't be prouder of these guys."
The end of the season also brought the end of their collegiate careers for 15 seniors: Casey Bell, Ryan Broaderick, Blake Butcher, Stephen Coelho, Adam DeWitt, Jonathan Fleckenstein, Kyle Gutowski, Toby King, Chad Pigg, Joe Pradat, Josh Smith, Blane Swift, Tavin Thompson, Andrew Weekley.
Roanoke 5, LaGrange 2
The Maroons survived a bases-loaded ninth inning threat to turn back the Panthers in the first game of the day. Richie Post (5-2) pitched 4-1/3 innings, allowing the five runs, four of those earned. Austin Brown threw 3-2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Swift had three of LC's nine hits. Pradat added two hits and scored both of the runs.
Salisbury 4, LaGrange 2
The Seagulls broke a 2-2 tie with an unearned run in the seventh inning and added an insurance run in the eighth to eliminate the Panthers. Smith pitched into the seventh, allowing three runs, only one earned. Fleckenstein closed out the game, surrendering a run and striking out five. Bell led the Panthers' 11-hit attack with four hits, including two doubles. Butcher's ground out in the first inning brought in the game's first run. Billy Peatross had a game-tying RBI single in the sixth.