Troup’s Williams shines in win over LaGrange

Published 2:49 pm Sunday, March 19, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The Troup Tigers, completing a stretch of three region games in three days, rode the right arm of Colby Williams to a 3-1 victory over the home-standing LaGrange Grangers on Friday afternoon.

Williams, who has been outstanding in each of his outings this season, pitched a complete game four-hitter to help Troup (11-6 overall) improve to 2-1 in Region 5-AAAA play.

Troup, one day after losing 1-0 to Cedartown, pushed a run across in the top of the first inning, and it held the lead the rest of the way.

Williams, a right-handed sophomore, was in command the whole way.

“He competes,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “He’s a bulldog out there. He doesn’t want you to take the ball out of his hands.”

LaGrange also got a strong pitching performance from senior Ben Anderson, who gave up two unearned runs and two hits during his five innings on the mound before Jacob Vinson threw the final two innings.

The Grangers were down 3-0 when they scored a run in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Willis Kemp, but Williams retired the final four batters he faced to end it.

It was a key win for the Tigers, who avoided dropping their second straight game and falling below .500 in the region.

“We should have beaten Cedartown, but it is what it is,” Williams said. “We bounced back.”

Garner said everyone had to quickly put the disappointment of the Cedartown loss behind them.

“You get greedy. And we felt like we gave it away yesterday,” Garner said. “We felt like we were the better team and didn’t hit, and didn’t do what we needed to do to win it. But you have to have a short memory. You have to put it behind you, and come back out and be ready, especially playing a cross-town rival, and you have to step up and keep competing.”

LaGrange was supposed to play its first region game earlier in the week against Cedartown, but it was postponed because of weather.

That game will be made up today at Cedartown at 4 p.m. as LaGrange looks to even its region record.

In Friday’s game, the Tigers made sure they weren’t going to be shut out again by manufacturing a run in the first inning.

Ryan Bliss, Troup’s terrific junior shortstop, reached on a two-out double, and he scored on back-to-back wild pitches.

“Bliss, he made it happen,” Williams said. “That’s what he does.”

Garner said it was big for his team to get the early lead.

“After kind of what we dealt with (against Cedartown), it was,” Garner said. “Our kids know the significance of getting a lead early, and having a 1-0 lead. So that’s big.”

It was still a 1-0 game when the Grangers threatened in their half of the fourth inning.

With two outs, Matthew Anderson ripped the ball up the middle for the base hit, and Kemp then delivered an opposite-field single to right field to put men on first and third.

After Kemp stole second, Williams got out of that jam with a groundout, and Troup maintained its narrow lead.

The Tigers added an insurance run in the top of the fifth.

With one out, Neal Searels was hit by a pitch, and Jarred Helton followed with a base hit to put two men on.

Brent Kardoes, who was running for Searels, took off on a stolen-base attempt, and he scored when the throw to third got away, and Troup led 2-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, Vinson led off with a single and he moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Coy Tedescucci, but Williams got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

Troup padded its lead with a run in the top of the sixth.

With one out, Bliss made it to first on an error, and he stole second before scoring on a two-out single by Trent Bailey.

Facing a 3-0 deficit, the Grangers got their first two base runners on in the bottom of the fifth when David Sweat was hit by a pitch and Champ Willis singled.

A groundout by Matthew Anderson put runners on second and third with one out, bringing Kemp to the plate.

The senior shortstop drove the ball deep to center field for a sacrifice fly, and the Grangers had their first run.

With the tying run at the plate, Williams got a strikeout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Williams set the Grangers down in order to end it.

THE NUMBERS: Troup finished with three hits against LaGrange pitchers Ben Anderson and Jacob Vinson. Ryan Bliss had a double, and he also walked and scored two runs. Neal Searels and Jarred Helton had Troup’s other hits. LaGrange had four hits against Colby Williams. Champ Willis, Matthew Anderson, Willis Kemp and Jacob Vinson each had hits…On the mound, Troup’s Colby Williams pitched seven innings, and gave up one run on four hits while striking out six, and he didn’t walk anyone. LaGrange’s Ben Anderson pitched five innings, and he gave up just two hits and two unearned runs while striking out eight.

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