It’s more than just a rivalry game, although you can’t overlook that aspect of it anytime Troup and LaGrange meet, no matter the sport.
In this case, the sport in question is softball, and Troup will host LaGrange today.
It’s a critical game not just because it features two rivals, but it’s also a Region 5-AAAA game, and both teams are battling to make it to the state playoffs.
With no region tournament this year, the teams that finish in the top four during the regular season will advance to the state playoffs, making every region game extremely important.
LaGrange (7-6 overall) brings a 3-2 region record into today’s game, while Troup (3-7 overall) is 2-3 in the region.
LaGrange has had the upper-hand in the rivalry over the years, but head coach Jan Jones said she has a lot of respect for Troup.
“They’re nobody to overlook,” she said. “They’ve got several good ball-players. I told mine, you have to be ready for everything they throw at us.”
A year ago, Columbus, Alexander, Carrollton and LaGrange were the top four region teams during the regular season, and they ended up representing the region at state after earning the top spots in the region tournament.
They’re the four favorites again this year, and Troup coach Blair Shimandle knows her team will have to find a way to win some games against those teams.
“If we want to make it (to state), we have to take some from the teams that have been at the top the last few seasons,” Shimandle said.
Shimandle said getting a win today will be a tall task, particularly with LaGrange pitcher Emily Anderson on the mound.
Anderson, a senior and a four-year starter, has verbally committed to Georgia Tech.
“That says something when you face a picture like that that’s going to an ACC school,” said Shimandle, herself a former standout player at Georgia Tech.
Both teams have two games remaining in the first half of the region schedule.
After today’s game, Troup will wrap up the first half with a game at Shaw on Tuesday, and LaGrange will host Carrollton on Tuesday.