Troup rallies to finish perfect day
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – They were down, but not out.
After the LaGrange Lady Grangers scored four runs in the top of the third inning, the Troup Lady Tigers found themselves facing a five-run deficit on Saturday afternoon in the final game of the Hope for a Day event.
“It was 8-3 after the third inning,” Troup head coach Mason Brackett said. “I just told them, if we can score a run or two each inning it will give us a chance at the end.”
The Lady Tigers scored a single run in the third inning and two more in the fifth to get within two, and they rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to pull off the dramatic 9-8 win.
Skye Loftin ended the suspense with a two-out, walk-off single as Troup finished the day with a pair of wins.
Earlier, Troup beat Callaway 7-1 in its season opener.
“It’s always good to start the season with wins, and it’s always good to beat LaGrange and Callaway,” Brackett said.
Kayla Lane began the game-winning rally with a base hit that landed just beyond the second baseman’s glove, and Christina Garcia followed with a perfectly-place bunt for a single.
Next up was Maddie Weathers, and she legged out an infield single, and the bases were loaded with no outs.
Madison McCartney, who had a monster game with four RBIs, drove the ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to score Lane.
On that same play, Garcia scored on a throwing error, and the game was tied at 8-8 with the winning run on base with one out.
Loftin stepped to the plate, and she drilled the ball to the fence in left field, and Emilee Johnson, who was running for Weathers, easily scored the winning run.
“I just wanted to get that run in,” Loftin said. “That was my mentality, to just get the ball in play.”
Weathers, a senior catcher who was behind the plate for all 14 innings on the day, had three of Troup’s 12 hits.
Garcia had four hits and three runs scored, and Lane had two hits and four runs scored from the leadoff position.
McCartney had a hit with four RBIs, and Loftin had a hit and two RBIs.
Hadley Livingston also had a hit for Troup.
That the Lady Tigers were in a position to win was due in large part to the job done by Makenzie Miller, who threw three scoreless innings in relief of Loftin.
“That was the first thing I pointed out,” Brackett said. “That’s the reason we had a chance to win. She threw three shutout innings and kept us in the ballgame. That’s all you can ask for.”
The Lady Tigers started quickly with three runs in the bottom of the first to go up 3-0.
Lane led off with a single, and Garcia reached on a bunt hit before Weathers gave Troup the lead with an RBI double.
After McCartney’s sacrifice fly put Troup ahead 2-0, Loftin had an RBI groundout to cap the three-run rally.
LaGrange seized momentum after that and scored three runs in the second inning and five more in the third to take an 8-3 lead.
Troup began its comeback with a single run in the third inning, with Lane scoring on an error following a Garcia bunt.
Troup scored two more runs in the fifth inning to get within two.
Livingston, the number nine hitter, reached on a bunt leading off, and Lane was hit by a pitch.
Garcia’s bunt single loaded the bases, and two batters later, McCartney’s double plated two runs and cut LaGrange’s lead to 8-6.
That’s the way it remained until the seventh inning when Troup won it.
“It was really exciting to see everybody come through at the end,” Loftin said. “We struggled in the beginning, but all that matters is what happens at the end.”
In the Callaway game, Abby Taylor was terrific on the pitcher’s mound for Troup.
Taylor threw the complete game, and she held Callaway to six hits and one run.
Loftin had two hits and two RBIs, Weathers had two hits with one RBI, and Lane had two hits with two runs scored.
McCartney had a double and two RBIs, and Taylor had a hit.
Troup will make its home debut on Thursday when it opens Region 5-AAAA play against Chapel Hill.
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