Troup slips past LaGrange

Published 11:25 pm Monday, April 15, 2019


Daily News

Round one went to the Troup Tigers.

In the first of two meetings in a three-day span, Troup got an outstanding pitching performance from Colby Williams, and Ethan Morton came through with a two-run double in a 2-1 home win over LaGrange on Monday evening.

They’ll play again on Wednesday at LaGrange, and it will be the final Region 5-AAAA game for both teams.

Troup improved to 9-2 in the region, and it will either finish first or second depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s games.

Troup is in second place, while Cartersville leads the region with a 10-1 record heading into Wednesday’s game at Cedartown.

Because it holds the tie-breaker advantage, Troup would win the region championship if it wins on Wednesday, and Cartersville loses.

If Troup finishes second, it would still host a first-round series in the state playoffs.

LaGrange and Cedartown, meanwhile, are tied for third place in the region with 6-5 records. LaGrange will either finish third or fourth in the region, and it will be on the road for the opening round of the state playoffs.

In Monday’s game, Williams and Matthew Morgan were locked in a pitcher’s duel.

Troup took a 2-0 lead on Morton’s double in the second inning, and LaGrange got an RBI single from Charles Crawford in the top of the third.

That was it for the scoring, with neither offense able to get much done against a pair of pitchers who were dealing.

The Grangers had six hits, but Williams did a terrific job of pitching with men on base, and he was backed up by a defense that was flawless.

“At this stage, it’s kind of the old adage, pitching and defense,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “That’s what we’re trying to focus on.”

Morgan held the Tigers to three hits, all in the second inning, and he retired the final 13 batters he faced after giving up Morton’s RBI double.

Morgan didn’t allow a base runner outside of the second inning, and only one of the three hits he gave up left the infield.

It was the second time this season Morgan stood tall against one of the region’s top teams.

On March 20, Morgan threw six shutout innings before Cartersville won it 2-1 on a walk-off home run in the seventh inning.

“When he’s been fresh, and prepared, and ready, he’s been outstanding,” Troup head coach Donnie Branch said. “At Cartersville, and at Troup, he loses 2-1.”

The Tigers made the most of their only scoring opportunity.

In the bottom of the second, Williams led off with an infield single, and Colton Webb followed with a bunt hit to put men on first and second.

After a Daniel Martin fielder’s choice put runners on first and third, Morton stepped to the plate.

Morton, the number eight hitter in the lineup, drove the first pitch he faced to the left-field fence for a two-run double.

“I just got up there and was ready for the fastball,” Morton said. “I was banking on him throwing a first-pitch fastball, and I jumped on it.”

Morton got a strikeout to end the inning and limit the damage, but the Tigers had the lead.

The Grangers cut their deficit in half in the third inning, and they did it with two outs.

Leadoff hitter Walton Lanier got things started with a double, and he scored on Crawford’s hard-hit single to center field.

With the tying run on base, Williams buckled down and got the third out on a strikeout, and the Tigers were still ahead.

The Grangers threatened again in the fourth inning.

Trent Bailey and Will Alford led off with back-to-back singles, and the Grangers loaded the bases with one out when Cole Sanders was hit by a pitch.

A double play ended the inning, though, and Troup maintained its slim one-run lead.

In the top of the sixth, Bailey was hit by a pitch, and Alford drove the ball deep to left field, but it was caught by Luke Purnell.

Another strikeout by Williams ended the inning, and it remained a 2-1 game.

The Tigers came close to adding an insurance run or two in the sixth inning, with Luke Purnell and Cooper Doughman both hitting deep flyballs, but they were both caught just shy of the fence for noisy outs.

In the top of the seventh, with no margin for error, Williams set the Grangers down in order to end it.

Alford finished with two hits for LaGrange, and Mason Green and Lanier each had a double.

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