Troup returns from break with road game

Published 2:12 pm Sunday, April 9, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

HAMILTON – It’s back to work for the Troup Tigers.

After going more than a week without a game, Troup returned to the field on Friday afternoon for a non-region game against Harris County.

Troup started quickly with four runs in the top of the first inning, but it was Harris County rallying for the 9-7 win.

Troup (15-9) will return to Region 5-AAAA play with a critical home game against LaGrange on Tuesday.

Troup is 6-2 in the region, and it is a half-game behind LaGrange for first place.

It was the first game in eight days for the Tigers, who are in contention for a second straight region championship.

In Thursday’s game, Troup head coach Craig Garner used five pitchers, including Colby Williams, who will likely be the starter for the LaGrange game.

Williams, who is 3-0 in region games this season, pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh against Harris County.

Jarred Helton, Brantly Robinson, Cade Garner and Luke Swanson also pitched for Troup.

“That was our plan, to be able to throw at least four guys, and obviously we wanted to try to keep them at 25, 30, 35 pitches,” Garner said. “We just wanted to get them back in the swing of things, ready for next week.”

The Tigers had some offensive success and finished with 11 hits, including a pair of RBI doubles by Ken Truitt.

Truitt also made the defensive play of the game in center field, a diving catch in the fourth inning that saved a run.

Trent Bailey had three hits, and Ryan Bliss had two hits for Troup.

Helton and Camren Russell each had a hit and an RBI for the Tigers, Kenly Bridwell and Robinson had hits, and Williams drove in a run.

Harris County had fewer hits than Troup, but it took advantage of seven walks issued by Troup’s pitchers.

“It gets you on your heels,” Garner said of the walks. “It’s hard to play defense, especially when you don’t have good rhythm and tempo. That just breeds mistakes.”

Troup jumped on Harris County early with five hits and four runs in the top of the first.

Bridwell got it started with a triple, and he scored on a base hit by Helton.

A single by Bliss put two men on, and after a Cooper Doughman fielder’s choice, Trent Bailey’s base hit put men on first and third.

Williams drove in the second run with a fielder’s choice, and Truitt followed with his two-run double to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.

Harris County answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and one more in the second to get within a run, and Troup scored a single run in the top of the third.

Bailey reached on a one-out single, and with two outs, Truitt drove the ball off the center-field fence for an RBI double.

Harris County tied it with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and Troup reclaimed the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth.

After Doughman reached on an error and Bailey singled, Williams got a bunt down, and a run scored when the throw to first went awry.

After Truitt was hit by a pitch, there was a pitching change, and Russell reached on a fielder’s choice to drive in a run, and Troup led 7-5.

Back came Harris County, which scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a two-run lead and cap the scoring.

Harry Rich and Clay Langley had back-to-back RBI doubles in the inning for Harris County.

“We never put them away when we had a chance,” Garner said. “That’s what happens when you don’t put good teams away, they come back to beat you.”

Troup will put its four-game winning streak in region play on the line when it hosts LaGrange on Tuesday.

Troup won the first meeting 3-1.

OF NOTE: For photos from Friday’s game, check out