Tigers get walk-off win over Cavaliers
Published 1:51 am Saturday, April 20, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
When the Callaway Cavaliers and Troup Tigers played for the first time in February, it was a miserable winter evening, and the game was called in the fourth inning.
The two local rivals got together again on Friday in the final game of the regular season, and conditions weren’t much better, although this time they at least got to play the full seven innings.
On an unseasonably cool evening, Cade Garner’s walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Troup to a 4-3 victory.
It was the regular-season finale for Callaway and Troup, and they’ll both be at home on Wednesday in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Troup will host St. Pius X, and Callaway doesn’t know who its opponent will be.
In Friday’s game, the score was deadlocked when Troup came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning against Justin Moore, Callaway’s outstanding freshman pitcher.
With two outs, Colby Williams got things started with a walk, and Colton Webb followed with a base hit to put men on first and second.
That brought Garner to the plate, and with two strikes, he lined the ball through the middle to bring Williams home with the winning run.
“I just tried to not do too much,” Garner said. “It was two strikes, and you just have a good thought at the plate, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. That was going through my head. Just stay back, and sit on the fastball, but look for the curveball.”
Colby Williams, the fourth and final Troup pitcher who appeared in the game, threw a perfect top of the seventh inning to get the win.
Daniel Martin started for Troup, and Tre Mosley and Colton Webb also pitched before Williams finished things off.
Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard used five pitchers.
Austin Barber started, and he was followed to the mound by Zach Neighbors, Dawson Wright, Tucker Starling, Austin Cardwell, and Justin Moore.
“It was a good opportunity to get a lot of arms in,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “I knew he was going to throw a lot of arms, and so were we. Obviously it’s still a rivalry game, but we both had things we had to work on, and it was a good game.”
While it was a losing night for the Cavaliers, Hubbard was pleased with what he saw from his team.
“I thought we had some young pitchers that looked good, and we didn’t get rewarded for a lot of hard-hit balls,” Hubbard said. “We gave them a little bit, but they took what we gave them.
“But I’ll say this, if we can play with that energy and that tempo and do the things we need to do, we’ll be OK in the playoffs.”
The Cavaliers struck first with a run in the top of the first inning.
Drake Wade led off with a double, and after moving up on a Wesley Marchman sacrifice bunt, he scored on Trent Sheppard’s fly-out.
The Tigers took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second.
Webb reached on an error leading off, and he later scored on a wild pitch.
Cade Garner, who walked with one out and stole second, also scored on a wild pitch to give Troup the 2-1 lead.
Daniel Martin reached on a bunt single, and he came home on Luke Purnell’s sacrifice fly, and Troup led 3-1.
The Cavaliers tied it in the top of the fourth.
Sheppard got things going with a lead-of double, and Braelin Mitchell and Jabari Smith both walked to load the bases.
Luke Swann’s fielder’s choice brought in one run, and Destin Patrick tied it with a sacrifice fly.
The score remained deadlocked until Troup won it in the seventh inning.
Trace Meadows had two hits for Troup, and Cooper Doughman, Webb, Garner, Ethan Morton and Hunter Kitchens each had a hit.
Sheppard and Wade had Callaway’s only hits.