Busy stretch for Tigers
Published 11:11 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – It’s all hands on deck.
With the Troup Tigers set to play at least four games in three days at the LakePoint complex in Emerson, head coach Craig Garner said a lot of different pitchers will likely get a chance to show what they can do.
Colby Williams, Troup’s number one pitcher, will be limited because he threw eight shutout innings during a 2-1 victory over Callaway on Monday.
Williams, according to the pitch-count rules, will be eligible to pitch again on Friday, meaning he won’t be available for the two games today.
“We were hoping to throw him 45, 50 pitches, and hopefully get four innings out of him, and us be up by five or six runs and use somebody else,” Garner said. “So we’re going to go into LakePoint beginning on Thursday, and there’s going to be a lot of different arms used. There’ll be some guys called up from JV, and we’ll have to utilize them.”
Troup will be one of the 24 teams in the Perfect Game High School Showdown, and the top two teams will meet for the championship on Saturday.
There will be teams from six states competing in the tournament.
First up for the Tigers will be today’s game against the Lewisburg Patriots.
Lewisburg, from Olive Branch, Miss., features a loaded roster that includes left-handed pitcher Bryce Brock, a Mississippi State signee.
Jake Tyrone, Lewisburg’s leadoff hitter, hit .337 and stole 21 bases last season, and in an indication of how deep the team’s lineup is, number hitter Shawn Allen is hitting close to .500 this year.
If Troup beats Lewisburg, it would play the First Presbyterian Day Vikings at 6 p.m.
It is an elite field that includes five teams that are among the top 50 in the Perfect Game national rankings.
Among the participants is Sparkman (Ala.), which won the championship a year ago.
This is the second straight year Troup has competed in an elite tournament.
A year ago, Troup was in Florida for the IMG National Classic, and it went 2-2.
That was a Troup team that ended up winning a region championship and finishing with a 21-7 record.
Many of the key players from that team graduated, but the Tigers are still finding ways to win games.
With Monday’s extra-inning win over Callaway, Troup is 7-3, and it has won four of its past five games.
Among Troup’s top players is junior shortstop Ryan Bliss, who has verbally committed to Auburn.
This season, Bliss is pitching for the first time, and he threw a scoreless inning in Monday’s win over Callaway.
Williams has been outstanding on the pitcher’s mound, and he is also an outstanding infielder and a key member of the lineup.
Another veteran is Jarred Helton, a third baseman and pitcher, and sophomore catcher Cooper Doughman got some playing time a year ago.
Senior outfielder Camren Russell has played a lot over the years and has performed well this season, and sophomore Trent Bailey has been an offensive force while playing some at catcher.
Kenly Bridwell, Neal Searels and Brantly Robinson have also been stalwarts in the lineup this season.
A lot of different men have spent time on the pitcher’s mound this season, and that depth will come into play over the next three days with so many games.
Helton, Joseph Calhoun, Robinson, Bliss, Searels, Daniel Swann, Luke Swanson and Jackson Knox are among the Troup pitchers who have thrown this season.