Rivalry game cut short
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was just getting interesting.
The Troup Tigers were trailing the Callaway Cavaliers 3-1 in Tuesday’s county showdown, but they had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Callaway was making a pitching change, with Jabari Smith entering the game in relief of Walt Stewart.
What would have happened next will remain a mystery, though.
During the pitching change, the two umpires got together and decided to end the game.
It was, according to the coaches for both teams, strictly the decision of the umpires.
“They just said conditions were getting too bad,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said.
There had been a light drizzle falling during the game, although when the decision was made to end the game it wasn’t raining.
The field was wet from rain earlier in the day, but the players didn’t appear to have trouble keeping their footing.
“Once the game starts, it’s their call,” Callaway coach Dusty Hubbard said.
It’s not an official game, and they’ll try to play the remainder of the game down the road.
Callaway took the lead on a Drake Wade RBI single the top of the fourth inning.
Trailing 3-1, Troup had something going in the bottom of the fourth.
After leadoff hitter Colby Williams was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Trace Meadows was preparing to hit when the game was called.
While the game wasn’t played to the completion, both teams did at least get an opportunity to get some experience on the field.
“I told our guys, the best thing that happened today was we all got a chance to come out here and do something,” said Hubbard, whose team isn’t scheduled to play again until it visits Bowdon on Monday. “For the next few days, we might not see any time on the field. So we got out there.”
Troup, which is 0-2 after losing its first two games on the road, also needs the time on the field.
While the Tigers have some veterans on the roster, there are also some newcomers who are working their way into the lineup.
Troup will get a chance to play plenty of games before the start of region play on March 18 against Central-Carroll.
“It’s putting all the pieces of the puzzle in place,” said Garner, whose team has earned at least a share of the region championship for three straight years. “Ultimately, hopefully you’ve got an idea of what it’s going to look like before region gets here. Obviously you want to win every game, but in the grand scheme it doesn’t mean much more than what your pride’s worth.”
Both teams used two pitchers.
Colby Williams, who has signed with Kennesaw State and is one of the state’s top pitchers, threw the first two innings for Troup, and Colton Webb worked one inning.
For Callaway, Dawson Wright started and threw three innings.
Walt Stewart started the fourth inning and faced four batters before the game was called.
“I thought Dawson did a good job,” Hubbard said. “The conditions were tough. No matter what. I looked out there one time, and it looked like he was swaying on the mound from the wind.”
Both teams threatened in the first inning, but no runs were scored.
In the top of the first, Trent Sheppard singled and Braelin Mitchell reached on an error, but Williams got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
In the bottom of the first, Williams led off with a single, but a double play ended the inning.
The Cavaliers broke through in the top of the second with a two-out rally.
Stewart got things started with a base hit, and after he stole second, Bryce Kurian came through with an RBI, opposite-field base hit.
Williams got a groundout to get out of the inning with just one run scoring.
The Tigers had three base runners in the bottom of the second inning, but they didn’t score.
Colton Webb and Cade Garner each had hits, and Brett Haynes walked.
Some nice defensive work by the Cavaliers kept the Tigers off the scoreboard.
Catcher Luke Swann threw a potential base stealer out at second, and Wade made a nice play at shortstop for the third out.
In the top of the third, Webb worked around a one-out single by Mitchell to keep the Cavaliers from adding to their lead.
Troup tied it in the bottom of the third.
Grayson Garner was hit by a pitch, and Meadows reached on a bunt single two batters later to put men on first and third.
After Wright got a pop-out for the second out, Webb walked to load the bases, bringing Caleb McCurry to the plate.
McCurry beat out an infield single to bring in the tying run, making it a 1-1 game.
The Cavaliers reclaimed the lead in the top of the fourth inning.
Brooks Bledsoe and Destin Patrick got things started with back-to-back walks, and Zach Neighbors reached on a well-placed bunt to load the bases.
Webb got a strikeout for the first out, but Wade followed with a base hit to give the Cavaliers the lead.
With two strikes, Wade served the ball the opposite way to left field for an RBI single, and when the ball was misplayed, a second run scored to make it a 3-1 game.
Webb hung in there and got a pair of strikeouts to limit the damage, keeping the Tigers within two.
In the bottom of the fourth, Bledsoe made a terrific running catch for the first out of the inning.
Ethan Morton followed with an infield single, and Grayson Garner walked to put men on first and second.
Williams was hit by the first pitch he faced, and the bases were loaded.
Hubbard opted to make a pitching change, and that’s when the umpires called it a night.
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