Troup chasing World Series title
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’ve met every challenge that’s been placed in front of them so far.
At the district tournament in Thomaston, the Troup National 9-10-year-old all-stars shrugged off an early loss to win the title.
At the state tournament in Cochran, Troup National overwhelmed the competition, going 6-0 to claim the championship.
Now, Troup will play on the biggest stage that Dixie Youth Baseball has to offer.
Troup, or Team Georgia as it is now known, will play in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series in Ruston, La.
The tournament begins on Saturday and goes through Thursday when a champion will be crowned.
“It’s a great group of kids,” said Jason Willis, Georgia’s head coach. “It’s been amazing to see how they’ve improved in two months. They’re a lot of fun. It’s a good group of kids. We don’t really have any bad attitudes. Everybody gets along well together.”
The team departed on Thursday for the approximately eight-hour drive to Ruston.
On Friday, there will be a home-run derby and a skills competition followed by an opening ceremony.
Then on Saturday it’ll be time to get things started, with Georgia playing South Carolina at 5:45 p.m.
Georgia will play again on Sunday in the double-elimination tournament.
If the plan comes together, Georgia will play for the World Series title next week.
Whatever happens in Louisiana, Willis knows it will be a special time for all of the players.
“This is something they’ll be able to talk about for the rest of their lives,” Willis said. “It’s a great experience for them. It’s something they’ll be telling their children and their grand-children about.”
The path to the World Series began in Thomaston, with Troup going 4-1 in the district tournament.
Troup eased to the state title with an unbeaten performance, and it thumped Greene County 10-1 in the championship game.
The formula, which has been so successful so far, won’t change now.
“We just have to throw strikes and make the routine plays, and have all 12 put the ball in play,” Willis said. “If we do that we’ve got a chance.”
It figures to be a difficult challenge for Georgia considering that most of the teams are state champions.
Outside of the host squad, the other 11 teams all had to win their state tournaments to qualify for the World Series.
“The competition’s going to be a lot better,” Willis said. “We keep letting them know that. It’s not going to be easy, and I think they know that.”
The team was formed in late May at the conclusion of the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission spring season.
Since then the team has played 11 games and has had dozens of practices, many of them held on scorching summer evenings at the George F. Harris Baseball Complex.
Now a journey that began more than two months ago is nearly over, and Willis believes his players are ready.
“They’re close, and they get along together,” Willis said. They’ve had fun, even though they’re tired. I think when they get there they’ll be fired up without a doubt.”
Chase Mosley, Kaleb Woodson, Brady Willis, Brody Swanson, Torreion Delaney, Cason Spears, Nolan Haines, Kaiden Russell, EJ Facille, Blake Miller, Cass Fuller and Woods Carter. Jason Willis is the head coach, and the assistants are Charles Mosley and Jerry Willis.