• 64°

Troup all-stars chase another title

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – They’re hoping another championship’s in their future.

A few weeks ago, the Troup National all-stars rolled to a victory in the Dixie Youth Baseball 11-12-year-old district tournament at the Harris Baseball Complex.

Troup National will begin its quest for another championship today when it begins play in the Dixie Youth Baseball state tournament in Crawford County.

It’s an eight-team tournament, and the champion will earn an invitation to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in August.

There are two four-team pools, and the top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals next weekend.

Troup National has already played two of the teams in the tournament.

Manchester and Taylor County, who both lost to Troup National at district, are also participating in the state tournament.

The other five teams are Crawford County, Swainsboro, Wrens, West Augusta and Seminole County.

It’ll be some tough competition, but Troup National head coach Curt Longshore is ready to roll with his 12 me.

“On any given day, I’ll take this group of kids,” Longshore said.

Troup National will play each of the other three teams in its pool this weekend.

First up, Troup National will play West Augusta today at 5:45 p.m.

On Saturday, Troup National will play Seminole County at 1:15 p.m. before finishing pool play against Manchester at 8 p.m.

If Troup National finishes first or second in its pool, it will return to Roberta for a four-team, double-elimination tournament from July 21-23.

Troup National is hoping to duplicate its dominant performance from the district tournament.

While the championship game against Taylor County was somewhat competitive, Troup National won each of its tournament games by at least six runs.

In the title game, Troup National was down by four runs in the fourth inning, but it rallied for the 11-5 victory to secure the championship.

While Troup National showed off its power throughout the tournament, with Trevor Booton and Colton Esposito combining for five home runs, it got it done with small ball in the final game.

Troup scored most of its runs by putting the ball in play, forcing errors and creating havoc on the base paths.

“That’s what we preach in practice,” Longshore said. “It can start with the smallest of things. We preach protecting with two strikes, making contact, just put it in play. If you put the ball on the ball, it’s better than striking out. You don’t know what can happen.”

TEAM MEMBERS: Preston Pressley, Colton Esposito, Trevor Booton, Blake Sheppard, Avery Hewell, Gryson Cockrell, Steven Hill, Bryson Monteith, Dallas Pearson, Rocky Pemberton, Jimmie Jackson and Lane Christie. Curt Longshore is the head coach, and the assistant coaches are Glenn Jackson and Jackson Shelnutt.