Late-game rally lifts Troup
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
In a thrilling, back-and-forth region softball showdown on a blistering Saturday afternoon, it was the Troup Lady Tigers rallying for a 12-11 victory in the second game of a doubleheader.
Cartersville won the first game 5-2, and it was three outs away from pulling off the sweep after taking the lead into the seventh and final inning of game two.
Troup, unfazed after giving up six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to fall behind, plated two runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead.
Cartersville, which was the home team on the scoreboard in game two, was unable to answer in the bottom of the seventh, and Troup held on for the critical win.
With the split, Troup’s Region 5-AAAA record stands at 2-2 heading into Tuesday’s home matchup with LaGrange. Troup will be back home on Thursday for another region game against Cedartown.
“It’s so big (getting the split),” Troup head coach Kayla Yeargin said. “I think that’s going to carry us into next week, too. We’ve got two region games coming up.”
In Saturday’s second game, Yeargin was pleased to see that her players weren’t discouraged after watching Cartersville explode for six runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“Our girls, that’s kind of where they thrive,” Yeargin said. “They know they’re still in it, but the pressure’s on. That’s something with this team that’s been super-impressive all season. It’s one run, OK, it’s going to happen.”
Hadleigh Livingston got the seventh-inning rally started with a base hit, and Skye Loftin reached on a one-out walk.
Next up was Olivia McInvale, and her RBI single brought Livingston home with the tying run.
Freshman Caroline McInvale, the sister of senior Olivia McInvale, then gave Troup the lead with a hard-hit base hit to right field.
Cartersville, needing one run to tie it and two runs to win it, got the bottom of the seventh started with an Elizabeth Nelson base hit.
Nelson tried to steal second to get into scoring position, but she was thrown out by Troup catcher Emilee Johnson, who was behind the plate for every inning of both games on a hot day.
“That was huge,” Yeargin said of Johnson’s on-target throw. “It gets the momentum back, and takes some wind out of their sails. They get a runner on first base, and we’re trying to hold them.”
Avery Pearson, pitching in relief of Maggie McDonald, got the final outs to end the suspense.
“That felt good,” Yeargin said. “It feels like we’re on the right track.”
Pearson was not only the winning pitcher, but she was also one of Troup’s offensive stars.
Pearson had four hits with a double, and she also drove in two runs.
The McInvale sisters also got it done at the plate.
Caroline McInvale had three hits and three RBIs, and Olivia McInvale had two hits and three RBIs.
McDonald had two hits and an RBI, Loftin had a hit and an RBI.
Morgan Watkins and Lainey Braswell each had a hit.
McDonald started and pitched 4 1/3 innings, and Pearson threw the final 2 2/3 innings to get the win.
In Saturday’s first game, it was tied 2-2 when Cartersville took the lead with one run in the fifth inning, and it added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Loftin, McDonald and Livingston had two hits apiece, and Braswell, Braswell and Haley Cotton each had one hit.
Livingston had both of Troup’s RBIs.
McDonald pitched a complete game for Troup.