If the Troup Tigers don’t make the playoffs, and that possibility looms large after Monday’s 3-2 loss to LaGrange, coach Craig Garner will have plenty of games to look back on and wonder what could have been.
The Tigers, who fell to 7-6 in Region 5-AAAA, have lost some heart-breakers this season, including a pair of games to Carrollton where they had the lead going into the seventh inning.
The Tigers also lost a 1-0 game to Columbus, and Monday’s game marked the fourth time they’ve lost a region game by one run.
“You look at this game, or that game, and the smallest of details, the smallest of mistakes cost you,” Garner said. “You never know which one is going to be the one that ultimately does you in.”
Heading into today’s region finale against Shaw, the Tigers are one game behind LaGrange and Alexander, who are tied for third in the region with 8-5 records.
Only the top four teams will make the state playoffs, and Troup is the odd-man out at the moment.
The Tigers will have to bounce back from Monday’s difficult loss.
The Tigers fell behind 2-0 in the first inning, but they tied it with two runs in the second inning.
It remained a 2-2 game until LaGrange scored a single run in the top of the sixth, and that was it for the scoring.
Troup’s Winston Turner pitched a complete game six-hitter, but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Turner was also on the mound when Troup lost to Columbus 1-0.
“He pitched really well,” Garner said. “Unfortunately for Winston, he’s been a tough-luck loser in several ballgames this year.”
The Tigers had a couple of errors, including a costly one in the first inning that helped the Grangers score a pair of runs.
An outfield error allowed Logan Moody to reach second base, and the Grangers went on to score two runs.
The Tigers tied it in the second inning.
Miles Cameron was hit by a pitch leading off the inning, and C.J. Tatum walked.
Brannon Weathers later came through with a clutch two-out RBI single, and it was tied 2-2.
That’s the way it remained until the top of the sixth when Ben Anderson tripled and scored on a Logan Hood sacrifice fly.
It was a big day for Hood, who also pitched seven innings of four-hit ball to get the win.
The Tigers had a great chance to tie it, or perhaps take the lead in the seventh inning.
Troup had the bases loaded with two outs, but Hood got a strikeout to end it.
“It was a real tough, tight ballgame,” Garner said. “Ultimately, like most of them do, it came down to the team that made the fewest mistakes wins the ballgame. Unfortunately, we made some mistakes, and we just didn’t get a big hit when we needed it.”
Because of that, the Tigers find their playoff hopes on thin ice.
“This was a pivotal game as far as who’s going to make it, and who doesn’t,” Garner said. “You give credit to them. They played a good game, and they got it done, and we didn’t.”