It wasn’t until he entered high school and started playing travel ball that LSU-Eunice first popped up on the radar of Erath’s Ross Granger.
Four years later Granger decided to call it home.
During a signing ceremony amongst family, coaches and teammates, Granger opted to extend his playing career by signing Thursday with LSU-Eunice in the school’s gym.
“In the morning I tried to stay as calm as possible but I was really excited,” Granger said. “It was nerve-racking to go through the decision-making process and weigh all of those options. Once I decided on what I wanted, it was like a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders. To have all those people there to support me and guys that I played with was great.”
His day only got better by throwing a no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Fairview in the evening.
Granger, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound outfielder-pitcher, also considered Centenary and the University of Texas at Tyler.
“All around the three were pretty much the same, but I thought LSU-E would be a better opportunity to develop and possibly go to a D-1 (Division I)school,” said Granger, who has close to a 4.0 grade-point average. “It’s also closer, so everything just kind of fell into place and I felt the best thing would be to go to Eunice.”
Despite living less than an hour from the campus LSU-E’s program, established by coach Jeff Willis, hadn’t completely resonated with Granger until the start of his high school career. The program’s visibility gained greater clarity with Granger during his time with Team Louisiana’s travel ball team under coach Jeremy Picard, an opportunity that helped improve his skills and placed him on the recruiting radar.
“When I learned more about everything coach Willis had done, it was surprising because I didn’t know,” he said. “The tradition is really rich and was one of the things that appealed to me.”
Willis, in his 13th season, has built LSU-E into a national power among the National Junior College, Division II ranks with a 597-154 record. He’s guided the Bengals to seven College World Series appearances with four national championships and one runner-up finish. Moreover, the Bengals have never finished ranked lower than seventh and have had 127 players sign with four-year schools.
Granger said he hopes to fit into such a category, beginning his career as a pitcher after handling pitching and outfield duties for coach David Jordan at Erath the past three years.
Granger, a left-hander, earned first team All-District 6-3A honors and was a Class 3A honorable mention selection, helping the Bobcats reach the state regionals a year ago.
Granger’s off to another solid start this season, batting close to .400 with 15 RBIs. He’s 4-2 on the mound.
“Coach Willis talked about my maturation process and how my body is not even close to fully developing,” Granger said. “So if that happens and the velocity jumps up and I get bigger, stronger and faster, then I have a chance of possibly going a D-I (Divison I) somewhere.”
Granger said Thursday’s events were the culmination of a life-long objective that was achieved through a stern work ethic and determination to overcome his initial shortcomings.
“I was a late bloomer … I was the skinny kid that not everyone thought would do anything,” Granger said. “But through hard work, time and great coaching I’ve had, I got an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I’m grateful to have all those guys that helped me and my teammates that have pushed me.”