The first time they played, the Troup Tigers made easy work of the Sandy Creek Patriots on the way to a 14-2 victory.
The two teams met again on Thursday, and Troup coach Craig Garner didn’t believe for a moment that things would come as easily the second time around.
“You can’t look at that game and say hey, we’re going to steamroll them again,” Garner said. “I knew they were very capable of putting together a solid game.”
Garner was right.
Sandy Creek fought back from a 5-1 deficit to pull even in the fifth inning, and the Tigers got a solo home run from Jonathan Foster in the bottom of the fifth that proved to be the difference.
The Tigers held on for a 6-5 victory, allowing them to improve to 5-4 in Region 5-AAAA, and they’re alone in fourth place after LaGrange lost to Columbus on Thursday.
“I was worried about this game all day,” Garner said.
The Tigers won the game thanks in large part to the effort of Foster, who had a three-hit day.
Foster had a pair of doubles before he banged out a home run leading off the fifth inning.
Foster, a junior, has had plenty of days like that during an exceptional high-school career, although he has struggled at times this season.
“That’s what we’ve been waiting on,” Garner said. “It’s been here or there, but not really stringing too many together. We’ve just been waiting. I’m glad to see him have the game he had today.”
Bo Halcomb gave up the four runs in the fifth inning, but he settled down after that and ended up going the full seven innings to get the win.
Sandy Creek opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning, and Troup answered with a run in the bottom of the inning.
Winston Turner led off with a single, he stole second and came around to score on a Foster double.
The Tigers took a 2-1 lead with a run in the second inning.
Tyler Bunn reached on an error, and after a Brandon Watts base hit, Brannon Weathers came through with a sacrifice fly to bring in a run.
The Tigers kept it going with two more runs in the third inning.
Foster got things started with a one-out double, and after he stole third, he scored on Tyler Kemp’s groundout.
C.J. Tatum and Bunn then reached on back-to-back walks, and Tatum eventually stole home to give Troup a 4-1 lead.
The Tigers added another run in the fourth inning to extend their lead to 5-1.
Miles Cameron doubled leading off, and he moved to third on a Watts sacrifice bunt.
Weathers then grounded out to bring Cameron in to score, and Troup was up by four.
That lead didn’t last long, though.
After the first two batters reached in the top of the fifth, Jared Jackson came to the plate for his first at-bat of the game.
Jackson and his brother arrived late for the game because they’d just made it back home after attending their grandmother’s funeral.
Jackson promptly hit a three-run bomb over the left-field fence to get the Patriots within one.
“They rode back from Michigan this morning,” Garner said of the Jackson brothers. “They got back, and had somebody waiting on them. They got in the car and rode down here to the game. And he hits a three-run homer.”
The Patriots went on to score the tying run in the inning, but Halcomb got out of the jam without any more runs scoring.
After Foster’s home run, Halcomb set the Patriots down in the sixth and seventh innings to preserve the win.
Troup will be on the road today for another region game against Carrollton.