Troup teams play a thriller
By Kevin Eckleberry
MANCHESTER – They put on a show.
A pair of Troup County all-star teams faced off on Monday night in the Dixie Youth Baseball 9-10-year-old district tournament, and they played a thrilling game that went to extra innings.
After Troup National fought back with a run in the bottom of the sixth to tie it, Troup American went back on top with three runs in the seventh inning.
Troup National was unable to answer in the bottom of the seventh, and it was Troup American walking away with a 9-6 victory.
Troup National improved to 4-0 in the tournament, and it will play Thomaston in the championship game today at 6 p.m.
Troup American ended its tournament stay with a 1-2 record.
The teams showed an enormous amount of resiliency throughout the game, and both coaches were tremendously proud of how their players performed under tremendous pressure.
For Troup American, the game was hanging in the balance in the bottom of the sixth.
After Troup National had pulled even, it had the bases loaded with two outs, and Troup American pitcher Cooper Stephens got a groundout on a 3-2 pitch to force extra innings.
“That’s what I told them at the end, y’all fought and fought,” said Troup American coach Rusty Taylor. “We were one pitch away from losing that game in the bottom of the sixth. And (Stephens) was clutch. He got the out. They fought hard. I was proud of them.”
Troup National was down 6-5 heading into its final at-bat, and it pulled even on a Demetrius Hardnett base hit.
Troup National was unable to win game, but coach Chad Marchman said it was a valuable experience for a team composed mostly of players who will be in the 9-10-year-old age group again next year.
“We had two 10-year-olds on this team, and we had five 8-year-olds, and five 9-year-olds,” Marchman said. “So next year’s this will be big for them. It gave the young kids some experience, so when they come back next year, they won’t have as much pressure on them.”
In the decisive seventh inning, Tolan Bailey and Luke Vael started the rally for Troup American with back-to-back walks, and that brought Kaden Carlisle to the plate.
Carlisle got a well-placed bunt down for a hit, and when the throw to first got away, he made it all the way to third, and two runs scored to give Troup American the lead.
Carlisle later scored on a wild pitch to cap the scoring and put Troup American on top 9-6.
It was a suspense-free bottom of the seventh.
After Stephens got the first out, Landon Alsobrook entered the game in relief and recorded the final two outs, and Troup American had the win.
Troup American grabbed the early lead with a run in the top of the first.
With one out, Rob Skinner walked, and he came around to score on a wild pitch to give Troup American a 1-0 lead.
Troup National answered with a single run in the bottom of the first.
Jay Johnson and Davis Moncus led off with back-to-back singles, and Sammari Pope’s groundout brought in a run to tie it at 1-1
Troup American came right back with two runs in the top of the second.
Bailey and Vael got things started with singles, and Hunter Garrett walked to load the bases.
Jackson Hester then walked to drive in a run, and with the bases still loaded, Alsobrook was hit by a pitch and another run crossed the plate, and Troup American led 3-1.
It remained a 3-1 game until Troup National rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out, Jeremiah Staples and Johnson reached on consecutive hits.
After Staples scored on a wild pitch to cut Troup American’s lead to one, Moncus walked, and Hardnett delivered a two-run single to put Troup National on top 4-3.
Troup American came right back in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs to surge back ahead.
With two outs, Dalton Colquett walked, and Alsobrook followed with an RBI triple to tie the score.
When the throw to third got away, Alsbrook trotted home with the go-ahead run, and Troup American led 5-4.
The lead, thanks to Troup American’s Jake Perry, was short-lived.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Perry drove the ball over the left-field fence for a home run to tie it at 5-5.
After Parker Marchman walked, Stephens entered the game in relief of Carlisle, who acquitted himself nicely on the mound with four solid innings.
Stephens got out of the inning with no more runs scoring, with Alsobrook throwing a potential base stealer out at third for the third out.
In the top of the sixth, it was Troup American’s turn to play long ball.
Stephens was the leadoff hitter, and he hammered the ball deep to left field, and it landed a few feet to the right of the foul pole for a solo home run, and Troup American was back ahead by one.
Troup National came to bat in the bottom of the sixth needing one run to tie it, and two runs to win it.
Troup National’s first two batters were retired, but Jay Johnson worked his way on with a walk to keep hope alive.
Moncus then hit the ball up the middle on a two-strike pitch for a base hit, and Troup National had two men on.
That brought Hardnett to the plate, and his single to right field brought in the tying run.
“It’s been that way with them the whole time, they fight, and fight and fight,” Marchman said.
After a walk loaded the bases, Stephens got a groundout to Skinner at first base to end the inning, and Troup American won it in the seventh.
Stephens was the winning pitcher after entered the game in relief of Carlisle, and Alsobrook secured the save after getting the final two outs.
Perry, Johnson, Gray Hester, Waylon Pemberton and Staples all pitched for Troup National.
Johnson did some nice work on the mound, throwing 4 2/3 innings after coming into the game in the second inning.