LaGrange continues Southridge legacy of award winners

Photo by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Southridge's Joe LaGrange accepts the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award after Tuesday's Class 2A state championship baseball game at Victory Field in Indianapolis. LaGrange is the third Southridge student athlete to win the award in the past two years, joining Jayce Harter and Justin Lammers.


INDIANAPOLIS — Joe LaGrange was still trying to process everything that had just happened.

After the Southridge Raiders were defeated by the Alexandria-Monroe Tigers in heartbreaking fashion in the IHSAA Class 2A baseball state championship, tears and shock had overcome the entire team.

But if there’s something that’s sort of become a tradition for Southridge Raider athletes, it’s the legacy of one senior every year being named a recipient of a Mental Attitude Award. After Southridge’s football championship in 2017, Jayce Harter received the award and then Justin Lammers was presented the honor after Southridge’s gut-wrenching defeat in the baseball title game last season.

LaGrange became the newest member of that legendary group as he was presented the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award following Tuesday night’s game at Victory Field.

“It was a big surprise to me, especially with the two other seniors that we had on the field,” LaGrange said. “I know those two guys (Patrick Sander and Tucker Schank) would have been also very deserving of this award. I’m thankful that my coaches and the administrators chose me to be selected for this award.”

He has been a key contributor for the Raider baseball team these past two seasons since transferring in from Jeffersonville. This year, he hit .263 with 20 hits, 16 RBIs and eight total extra-base hits. He was also a Pocket Athletic all-conference selection for both baseball and basketball this past year.

LaGrange finished his academic career eighth in his class with a GPA of 3.931 and was an active member of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as well as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). In the community, LaGrange helped with St. Mary’s Church, coached youth basketball and also served for Jerseys for Jesus. He was also one of six athletes from Southridge High School to receive and IHSAA sportsmanship pin this past year.

“Joe’s a great kid first of all, he’s a great person who always works hard and he’s always compassionate,” Southridge head coach Gene Mattingly said. “He’s not a real vocal kid but he always leads by example. He deserved it and I’m glad he won it.”

Joe is the son of Tim and Angie LaGrange of Huntingburg and Joe will continue his education at Indiana University in the fall where he will study business.

The award is 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 to 1962.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance presented $1,000 to the general scholarship fund at Southridge High School in the name of Joe LaGrange.

While LaGrange was still extremely disappointed about the end result of the game following the award presentation, he still feels extremely grateful to be presented with this honor.

“This game still sucks right now but in the future I know it’s something I’ll be very thankful for,” LaGrange said of the award. “I know it’s something to be proud of.”

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