Troup all-stars make run at a title
By Kevin Eckleberry
EATONTON – Their championship quest came up just short.
The Troup County 13-14-year-old all-stars made a strong run at the title in the Dixie Boys Baseball state tournament in Eatonton, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Troup County posted a 3-2 record, and it finished in a tie for second in the state with Columbia County.
Newton County won three games on Sunday, including one over Troup County, to claim the championship.
“I’ve been around a lot of these guys over the years, and just getting the chance to coach them was an awesome experience,” said Troup County head coach Scott Thompson. “I appreciated that they allowed me the opportunity to coach them. It was a good time. And it was a super-talented team.”
After dropping its opener, Troup County was facing elimination the rest of the way in the double-elimination tournament.
Following Sunday’s dramatic 2-1 win over Newton County, there were three teams remaining with one loss.
There was a coin flip to determine which team would receive a bye into the championship game.
Columbia County won the coin clip, so Newton County and Troup County returned to the field for the right to play for the title.
Newton County beat Troup County 8-4, and it went on to claim the championship with a victory over Columbia County.
Troup County’s tournament stay began on Friday with a 6-2 loss to Putnam County.
Caleb Deavers provided an offensive highlight for Troup County with a solo home run in the seventh inning.
Zack Thompson had two hits with a run scored, and Trey Hartley had three hits.
Troup County bounced back on Saturday with two blowout wins, 14-3 over West Georgia, and 16-6 over Jones County.
In the win over West Georgia, Colton Webb helped lead a dominant offensive effort with two home runs, and Justin Truett also hit one out.
After hitting one over the fence in the third inning, Webb went deep again in the fourth inning as Troup County blew the game open.
Truett’s home run came in the fifth inning.
Carson Garner had three hits from the leadoff position, and Deavers also had three hits.
Austin Manning had two hits, and Zack Thompson had a double.
Troup County finished the day with another one-sided win, this one over Jones County.
Troup County exploded for seven runs in the first inning and never looked back.
Manning had a pair of hits, including a solo home run, and Garner, Trey Hartley, Webb and Kade Rogers each had multi-hit games.
Zack Thompson, Deavers, Truett and Guy Morris also had hits.
Manning was the starting and winning pitcher.
On Sunday, Troup County was still in must-win mode when it played Newton County.
It was all about pitching, with Webb and Hartley combining to handcuff Newton County’s hitters.
Webb pitched 5 1/3 innings, and he gave up just two hits with seven strikeouts, and he left after throwing 97 pitches.
Hartley threw the final 1 2/3 innings, and he was the winning pitcher.
Troup scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
After three walks loaded the bases, Garner got a bunt down to bring the winning run home.
“We worked on that a lot where you can’t bunt it to the pitcher,” Thompson said. “Anywhere else, you’re going to score. Carson laid it down beautifully.”
After about a 30-minute break and a coin flip, Troup County and Newton County played again.
Hartley was the starting pitcher for Troup, and he was dominant, but he had to leave the game after reaching his pitch limit in the fifth inning.
Newton County scored five runs in the fifth inning to take the lead, and it added three more runs in the sixth inning.
Troup County scored two runs in the fourth inning, and single runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Webb reached base three times and scored two runs for Troup County, and Hartley and Asa Leath both had hits and runs scored.
“These guys have been playing ball since the beginning of January,” Thompson said. “They went straight from travel ball, to (high-school ball), and then to rec ball. It’s been a lot of baseball. But it was fun, all the way through. Nobody was complaining. We were on a mission, and this is what this team was put together to do. Unfortunately, we came up short. But in the end, we all enjoyed the run.”
TEAM MEMBERS: Zack Thompson, Carson Garner, Colton Webb, Caleb Deavers, Trey Hartley, Kade Rogers, Ethan Morton, Asa Leath, Guy Morris, Justin Truett and Austin Manning. The head coach is Scott Thompson, and the assistant coaches are Jake Hartley and Chris Webb.