Troup continues chase for title
Published 11:23 am Friday, July 13, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
If the plan comes together, the Troup National 11-12-year-old all-stars will return home with a state-championship trophy on Saturday night.
Troup National, after finishing second in its pool last weekend, will return to Swainsboro today for the double-elimination portion of the state tournament.
The tournament began with eight teams, and that number has been narrowed to four.
Those four teams will compete for the state championship today and Saturday, with the winner earning a spot in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series.
Joining Troup National in the semifinals are Wrens, Seminole County and Swainsboro.
Each of those teams will play two games today.
At 5:45 p.m., it’ll be Troup playing Swainsboro, while Wrens will take on Seminole County.
There will be two more games at 8 p.m.
The two winning teams will meet with a berth in Saturday’s championship game on the line.
In the other game, the losing teams will meet in an elimination game.
There will be another game on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the winner of that game will advance to the championship game at 4 p.m.
If needed, a final game will be played at 6 p.m.
Troup began its summer by going 4-0 in the district tournament, and it went 2-1 in pool play to advance.
After beating Irwin County, Troup lost to Wrens, setting up a must-win scenario against Thomaston.
Troup overwhelmed Thomaston 19-0 to advance to the semifinals.
Troup is looking to win a state championship in the 11-12-year-old age group for a second straight year, although it’s mostly a new group of players.
Blake Sheppard, Steven Hill, Jimmie Jackson and Gryson Cockrell were members of last year’s team that won the state title and advanced to the World Series in Oxford, Ala.
The new players are Parker Shattuck, Cooper Stephens, Trevor Hansford, Rob Skinner, Bryce Hubbard, Garrett Huckleberry, Landon Merna and Kaden Carlisle.
Only a handful of the players haven’t participated in all-star baseball before.
“I don’t think there’s a drop-off in talent at all,” Longshore said before the start of tournament play. “The biggest thing is, it’s pretty much a new group, with three first-time all-stars. It’s just getting them to gel together, and buy into our way of doing things, and our philosophies.”
Considering the team is three wins away from a state championship, things have come together nicely this summer.