May 2, 2014

LaGrange tops NW

Early exit disappointing for Region 7 champs

TUNNEL HILL — Despite a second straight Region 7-4A championship, the Northwest Whitfield baseball team’s coaches and players seemed to agree on one fact.

This isn’t good enough.

This being a disappointing first-round exit from the Class 4A state playoffs after visiting LaGrange won 7-3 in game one and 4-2 in game two Friday at Richard H. Chumley Field to end Northwest’s season in the best-of-three series. LaGrange (14-14) was the No. 4 seed from Region 5 and advances to play Grady or Lanier.

Northwest, which a season ago won a region title and reached the second round for the first time since 2007, had its sights set on making as deep a postseason run. The Bruins (20-6) aren’t content anymore with “just making the playoffs,” as coach Todd Middleton said.

“We weren’t satisfied with this,” said senior Andy Whisenant, an outfielder and pitcher. “We wanted to go farther than last season. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

The final play was symbolic for the entire day, when Northwest’s hard hits largely went at LaGrange fielders and the visitors enjoyed the opposite. Bruins shortstop Diego Peralta, the only other senior, was at bat as the tying run with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. With Will Brock at first base, Peralta hit a line-drive out directly to LaGrange center fielder Ben Anderson.

“It’s just baseball,” Peralta said. “That’s the game. There has to be a loser, and sometimes you’re it. ... We worked a lot harder for us to be stopped here.”

Seth Pierce started the second game for Northwest and pitched five innings. He allowed four runs, three earned, off five hits and three walks with three strikeouts. The game remained scoreless until LaGrange put two runs across in the fourth.

Northwest cut the deficit in half with Peralta’s fifth-inning, two-out single bringing

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