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Brennan Morehead singled in the tying run and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Alexandria Monroe to a miraculous, 4-3 victory over Southridge in the Class 2A championship game.
Southridge, making a return appearance after falling in the 2A title game in 2018, led the entire way and pitcher Ethan Bell struck out Kole Stewart for what would have been the final out of the game. Yet, Stewart reached on a dropped third strike when the throw sailed over the first baseman’s glove, allowing him to advance to second base.
Stewart then scored on Morehead’s single to tie the game at 3-3. Clean-up hitter Nick Williams followed with a high pop fly on the first pitch that dropped between the Southridge shortstop and left fielder allowing Morehead to race home with the winning run.
The victory gives coach Jeff Closser’s Tigers (29-6) their first state title since winning the first 2A championship in 1998.
Southridge (22-9) took a 1-0 lead in the opening inning without benefit of a hit, then added two more in the fourth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Joe LaGrange and Connor Oxley for a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers broke through in the sixth inning when Williams and Rylan Metz each slapped one-out singles. Williams scored on a Brayton Gaines single, while Metz eventually scored on a wild pitch to pull the Tigers within 3-2.
Williams and Metz each had two hits for the winners. LaGrange scored a run and drove in a run for coach Gene Mattingly’s Raiders.
Joe LaGrange of Southridge named Mental Attitude recipient
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee announced Joe LaGrange of Southridge High School as the winner of this year’s L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A Baseball.
LaGrange was an influential team member on last year’s 2A state runner-up team as a junior, as well as a repeat appearance in the state championship this year as a senior. He was awarded All-Pocket Athletic Conference honors this year in both baseball and basketball. He also played football for the Raiders.
Joe finished his academic career 8th in his class with a GPA of 3.931. At Southridge, he was an active member of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). In the community, Joe has helped with the St Mary’s Church, he coached youth basketball, and he served for Jerseys for Jesus. Most notably, he was one of only six athletes from Southridge High School to receive an IHSAA Sportsmanship pin this past school year.
He is the son of Tim and Angie LaGrange of Huntingtburg, Indiana. He will attend Indiana University, and will study Business.
The award is annually presented to an outstanding senior participant in each state championship game who has best demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in baseball. The award is named in honor of the late L.V. Phillips, who served as the second commissioner of the IHSAA from 1945-62.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented $1,000 to the general scholarship fund at Southridge High School in the name of Joe LaGrange.