State champions set to be crowned

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – By the time the final pitches have been thrown on Saturday, the road to Lexington will be complete.

A trio of local youth baseball teams are among the participants in the 9-10-year-old and 11-12-year-old Dixie Youth Baseball state tournaments that will be completed this weekend.

Those tournaments began last weekend, and the fields have been narrowed down considerably.

Only three teams remain in the 9-10-year-old state tournament in Manchester, including the Troup National team that has dominated every team it has played so far.

In the 11-12-year-old tournament in Augusta, there are four teams left, including Hogansville and Troup National, who are preparing to play for the third time this summer after their two meetings in the district tournament.

Both of those state tournaments will finish on Saturday unless Mother Nature intervenes, and the state champions will earn invitations to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Lexington, S.C.

In Augusta, Troup National and Hogansville will play on Friday, and those two teams are extremely familiar with each other.

At the district tournament in June, Hogansville beat Troup National twice in a pair of games decided by just three runs.

Both teams advanced to the state tournament, and they were among the four teams that made it through to the final weekend.

Hogansville finished first in its four-team pool with a 3-0 record, while Troup National bounced back from an opening loss to go 2-1 and finish second in its pool to advance to the final four.

The four remaining teams are Hogansville, Troup National, Albany and Norcross.

It’ll be a double-elimination format, meaning that no matter what happens in the first games all four teams will still be alive.

At 11 a.m. on Friday, it’ll be Troup National vs. Hogansville, while Albany takes on Norcross.

The tournament continues through Saturday.

It will be a different format for the 9-10-year-old tournament in Manchester since there are only three teams.

The opening weekend of the state tournament featured three five-team pools, and the three pool winners advanced.

Each of the three remaining teams will play two games on Saturday, and the team that finishes with the best record will be declared the state champion.

Troup National, which is 7-0 in the district and state tournaments combined, will play Bleckley County at 10 a.m.

After Bleckley County and Perry play at noon, Troup National and Perry will meet at 2 p.m. in the final game of the state tournament.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports