Unbeaten Troup blanks Callaway

Published 1:23 pm Friday, February 23, 2018


Daily News

The Troup Tigers rode the left arm of Garrett Casey to a 4-0 road win over the Callaway Cavaliers on Thursday afternoon.

Casey, a left-hander who is in his first season at Troup after transferring from a school in Delaware, was close to untouchable.

Casey pitched six innings, and he limited the Cavaliers to no hits while striking out 11.

After Casey walked the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, Colby Williams got the call, and he struck out all three batters he faced to preserve the win.

Casey’s first start of the season came against Hardaway,and he didn’t allow any runs while striking out nine in four innings in a 12-0 victory.

One week later Casey was back on the hill, and he was dominant once again, and he felt early on that it was going to be a successful outing.

“I felt great,” Casey said. “I knew as soon as I got on the field it was going to come today.”

Troup head coach Craig Garner was eager to see Casey perform in more of a high-pressure situation after the one-sided road win over Hardaway.

“I was pleased with the first performance against Hardaway, but it was kind of a no contest,” Garner said. “I was real excited to see him tonight in a little bit more of a hostile environment. He doesn’t truly understand cross-town rivals and things like that, but he got a taste of it tonight. So I was glad to see that, and he was dealing. He just got a little tired at the end.”

There was a big crowd on hand for Thursday’s game, and the fans were into it from the first pitch to the last one, and Casey enjoyed it.

“Playing in a baseball game like this, it’s a crazy atmosphere,” Casey said. “We didn’t have that (in Delaware). It’s just fun.”

After Casey ran into trouble in the seventh inning with the two walks, Garner turned the game over to his other ace.

Williams is usually a starter and he is one of the state’s best in that role, but he has also thrived when called upon as a reliever.

“He’s the guy you’d love to come in with the bases loaded and nobody out,” Garner said.

Williams struck out three in a row to finish off the shutout and keep the Tigers unbeaten.

Ryan Bliss, Troup’s sensational senior shortstop, was confident when Williams stepped to the mound.

“He strives on that,” Bliss said. “When he came in, I knew it was game over. That’s what he does.

Bliss, who helped out with some outstanding plays, was also impressed with he saw from Casey.

“Garrett, he’s a dog on the mound,” Bliss said. “He wants to win. He’s a competitor. He has a good feel for all his pitches. And being a lefty, it’s hard to hit.”

For his part, Casey is thrilled to have someone like Bliss playing behind him.

In the bottom of the second, Bliss ranged to his left and made a play on a ground ball that appeared headed to center field.

Bliss scooped the ball and made the throw to first base for the out.

“That ground ball they hit up the middle, usually it’s a base hit,” Casey said. “But with Bliss, it’s just different. I’ve never had a shortstop play behind me like that.”

Offensively, Troup did just enough against Callaway pitchers Chandler Lott and Walt Stewart.

The Tigers scored two unearned runs in the first inning, and they added single runs in the fourth and seventh innings.

Williams and Kenly Bridwell each had RBI singles, Bliss had a hit, two walks and two runs scored, and Luke Purnell drove in a run.

“We played some, A, B, C baseball,” Garner said. “I’ve got no complaints. Our guys played solid tonight.

“We’ve still got some things we’ve got polish up, but all in all we played a solid ballgame.”

In the two-run first inning, Bliss got things started with a walk, and Caleb McCurry reached on an error to put men on first and third.

Williams reached on another error, with Bliss scoring the game’s first run, and Bridwell followed with an RBI single to give Troup a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Casey led off with a walk, Cade Garner followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Luke Purnell’s sacrifice fly brought in courtesy runner Colton Webb to give Troup a 3-0 lead.

Troup added an insurance run in the seventh inning.

With one out, Bliss and McCurry walked, and Williams drove the ball into left field for an RBI single to cap the scoring.