Tigers adjust practice plans

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

January 31, 2014

Troup baseball coach Craig Garner doesn’t like to practice on Sunday.

“For the past three or four years, I don’t think we’ve had one single practice on a Sunday,” Garner said. “Even when the semis started on Monday, we still didn’t practice on Sunday.”

Considering the Tigers have practiced once in five days during the first week of practice, though, Garner figures he’ll have to adjust that policy the next few weeks.

“We’re going to have to go to work, and we’re at least going to have to get out there a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon between (church) services and get some work done the next few weeks,” Garner said.

Like the other baseball teams in the county, Troup had to take four days off after practicing on Monday.

School let out early on Tuesday, and there was no school on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

That meant, per school-system policy, sports teams in the county weren’t able to play games, or practice on those days.

For Troup, that means the usual first-week plan had to be scrapped.

“I told the guys (on Monday), this may be it for some of you,” Garner said. “I usually try to have my roster complete by Wednesday of the first week. Unfortunately, it was some of their first and only day. I hate that. I like to try to give them several days. But this just wasn’t going to be one of those years.

“As of right now, I’ve got a good idea of what my roster is going to look like. We’re still missing some of the basketball kids, and some of the wrestling guys, but I already knew about those.”

The Tigers will open the season on Feb. 19 at Newnan, and they’re looking to continue their terrific run of success they’ve enjoyed of late.

The Tigers have made back-to-back trips to the Class AAA semifinals, and in both years the team they lost to went on to win the state championship.

The 2013 team was a senior-dominated one, though, meaning a number of new position players and pitchers will get their chance.

The Tigers do have some gifted players returning, including Jonathan Foster, who has developed into one of the state’s best hitters.

And while the pitching staff was hit hard by graduation, some young pitchers, including Winston Turner, will be back to bolster the staff.

“We’re going to have a young team this year,” Garner said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but also I feel good about it.”