Troup’s Halcomb tabbed as top player
LAGRANGE – There likely wasn’t a whole lot of discussion when it came time to pick the Region 5-AAAA player of the year.
Troup High’s Bo Halcomb was a complete player this spring, getting it done on the pitcher’s mound, at the plate, on the base paths, in the field, and in the clubhouse as a leader.
Because of his all-around excellence for a team that won the region championship, Halcomb was selected as the region’s top player.
The Tigers, who cruised to the region title with a 14-1 record, dominated the all-region team, with nine players either making the first team or earning an honorable-mention selection.
While Halcomb was tabbed as the top player, Troup’s Winston Turner was selected as the region’s pitcher of the year.
First-team selections on the all-region team from Troup were outfielder Miles Cameron, pitcher Payton Upchurch, shortstop Ryan Bliss and third baseman Colby Williams.
Also for Troup, outfielder Ken Truitt, catcher Brandon Gay and first baseman Colby Darda were honorable-mention selections on the all-region team.
At the start of the season, Halcomb was unable to pitch while he recovered from offseason surgery, but that didn’t keep him out of the lineup, and he was pounding the ball from Day 1.
Halcomb, who along with Bliss and Cameron started every game during the season, put up ridiculous offensive numbers in 28 games.
He was among the team leaders in numerous categories including batting average (.462), hits (42), on-base percentage (.554), triples (six), stolen bases (22), home runs (two) and RBIs (20).
Halcomb began pitching about midway through the season, and he was nearly unhittable.
He appeared in nine games and had a 4-1 record with one save, and he posted an infinitesimal earned run average of 0.40, which head coach Craig Garner said broke a school record that had been in place for about four decades.
“I think that record’s been around since the early 70s,” Garner said.
Turner was a lock-down pitcher from Day 1, and he had a magnificent season.
Turner went 9-1, with the lone loss coming in the first game of a first-round playoff series against Madison County.
Turner, who was a second baseman when he wasn’t on the mound, fell just one victory shy of tying the school record for wins in a season.
Turner was also one of Troup’s best hitters.
He hit .471 and drove in 27 runs, and he led the team with nine doubles.
Cameron, in addition to being an elite defensive center fielder, was also a dominant offensive player who provided a lot of the power in the lineup.
Cameron hit .438, and he led the team with six home runs and 32 RBIs.
Upchurch had a terrific senior season.
He was used mostly out of the bullpen last year, but he was a mainstay in the rotation this season, and Garner chose him to start the second game of the playoff series against Madison County.
Upchurch appeared in nine games with seven starts, and he went 5-1 with one save, and he had a stellar ERA of 1.70.
While Halcomb, Turner, Cameron and Upchurch are all seniors and will be leaving the program, Bliss will be anchoring the Troup infield for two more years.
Bliss, who has verbally committed to play for the Auburn Tigers, is a spectacular defensive player, but he was also one of the team’s top hitters this spring.
Bliss had a batting average just under .400 and he was on base more than half the time, and he hit three home runs and drove in 24 runs.
Also returning next season will be Williams, who stepped right into the lineup as a freshman and performed at a high level.
Williams, a third baseman, took a .400 batting average into the playoff series, and he had 15 RBIs.
Williams was also a key member of the pitching staff, and he appeared in nine games and had a 2.50 ERA.
Among the honorable-mention selections is Gay, who made the most of his one and only season as Troup’s starting catcher.
He was solid defensively, and he hit .317 and drove in 12 runs.
Truitt had a breakout season as an outfielder, hitting .347 with 12 RBIs, and he had two hits in Game 1 of the playoff series against Madison County.
Darda, who missed part of the season with an injury, was a fixture at first base when he was available and he was an effective offensive player.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports