It’s all a part of the process.
Whether the Troup Tigers are winning or losing, head coach Craig Garner said these early-season games are all about getting everything in place for the Region 5-AAAA schedule.
The Tigers opened the season with back-to-back wins over Northgate and Newnan, but they’ve dropped their past two games against Central-Phenix City and Hardaway.
The Tigers are coming off back-to-back seasons where they made it to the state semifinals, but many of the players responsible for that success have graduated.
While there are a handful of veterans remaining, many of the every-day players, as well as the pitchers, are getting their first taste of varsity baseball.
“Right now, it’s just going to be a learning, a growing process until we get all the right pieces of the puzzle in place,” Garner said.
On Saturday, Troup fell to Central-Phenix City 13-1 for its first loss of the season.
The Tigers were back home on Tuesday, and they lost to Hardaway 13-6.
“We had two bad innings,” Garner said. “We gave up six runs in the third, and we gave up four runs in the seventh. That’s 10 of their runs right there. Ultimately, we played five innings of solid baseball. We just kind of fell apart in the third. The third was the killer. We had a really bad inning.”
C.J. Tatum got the start for the Tigers, and he pitched the first three innings.
Tyler Bunn entered the game in relief in the fourth inning, and he went the rest of the way.
Bunn held the Hawks scoress in the fourth through sixth innings before allowing three runs in the seventh.
“He had a bad seventh, but ultimately he pitched very good,” Garner said. “I was very proud of the way he competed and battled.”
Garner added that “there were several bright spots to the game. I had some different people out there playing tonight to see what they can do. Some of them I felt rose to the occasion and showed me stuff I want to see a lot more of.”
Jonathan Foster hit a two-run home run for the Tigers, and Miles Cameron added a pair of hits.
Troup is scheduled to visit Callaway on Thursday, although that is subject to change since the Callaway boys’ basketball team is set to host a state-tournament game that same day at 6 p.m.
The Callaway game is a continuation of a difficult non-region schedule, and Garner knows there will be peaks and valleys.
“I want to see everybody expose every weakness we’ve got,” Garner said. “It’s going to help us get prepared for region play ultimately, and hopefully the playoffs.”
SOCCER: The Troup Tigers earned a 4-3 victory over Central-Carroll on Tuesday.
Chris Armstrong had a pair of goals for the Tigers, and Jacob Meacham and Juan Herrera had one goal apiece.
The Tigers were down by one goal at the half before rallying.