Troup all-stars set to get back on field
LAGRANGE – If the plan comes together, Troup National will get another shot at Hogansville.
In the Dixie Youth Baseball District 1 tournament in Thomaston, those teams played three exhilarating games, all of which were decided by one run.
Unfortunately for Troup National, it ended up on the losing end of two of those games, including the championship game that Hogansville won 3-2.
The good news for Troup National was that it did enough to earn an invitation to the Dixie Youth Baseball 11-12-year-old state tournament that will be held in Macon the next two weekends.
Troup National and Hogansville will be on opposite sides of the bracket, meaning they wouldn’t play until the semifinals next weekend.
Pool play will be Friday and Saturday, with the top two teams from each four-team pool qualifying for the semifinals.
The last team standing in the state tournament will advance to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in August.
“It’s never fun losing, but you learn a lot of lessons,” Troup National coach Ben Jackson said after the district tournament. “It’s how you respond when you lose that’s important. We’ll still got baseball left.”
Troup National went 2-2 in the district tournament to place second.
Troup National was one out away from opening the district tournament with a win, leading 4-2 with two outs in the sixth inning, but Hogansville rallied for a 5-4 victory.
Justin Truett pitched well in the loss for Troup National, and Jesse Swann had an RBI single.
Troup National returned to Thomaston a few days later to face Manchester in a must-win game, and it prevailed 5-2.
Devon Murphy had two RBI hits for Troup, including a triple, and Kevin Neighbors, Colton Esposito and Jacob Bearden each had RBI singles.
Esposito, Murphy, Wolfe and Cason Firth each pitched in that game for Troup.
That win propeled Troup into the championship round, and it needed to beat Hogansville twice to capture the title.
Troup National got one of those wins, and it did it in dramatic fashion.
Troup National was down 5-2 as it came to the plate in the sixth and final inning, and it pushed four runs across to win it 6-5.
Firth had a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the decisive sixth inning, and Wolfe, Murphy and Neighbors also had hits.
Five different Troup National pitchers threw in the game, including Neighbors, Esposito, Murphy, Trevor Booton and Truett.
That dramatic win set up a winner-take-all game, and Troup National was edged 3-2 to place second.
Murphy, Firth and Truett all did terrific work on the mound for Troup National.
It was a tough way to close out the tournament, but Jackson was proud of his players for not only how they competed, but how they handled themselves throughout the week.
As the two teams were lined up following the championship game, it was announced that Troup National had won the sportsmanship award.
“I told the kids, obviously you want to win the tournament, but they won the sportsmanship award, and that says a lot about the boys, and how they played as a team,” Jackson said. “That means a lot. I was really proud of them for that.”
TEAM MEMBERS: Trevor Booton, Jesse Swann, Cason Firth, Mason Wolfe, Devon Murphy, Kevin Neighbors, Ben Ogle, Colton Esposito, Justin Truett, T.J. Wilkerson, Jacob Bearden and Preston Pressley.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports