Tigers east past Braves
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
FRANKLIN – It was a breakout game for the Troup Tigers.
After scoring a total of three runs in their previous four games, the Tigers (4-5) exploded for five first-inning runs on Wednesday on the way to a 12-4 road win over the Heard County Braves.
Luke Purnell did a lot of the damage for Troup with two hits and four RBIs, and he had a towering two-run home run that was part of a big first inning.
Troup scored three more runs in the fourth inning and five runs in the fifth while matching its season high for runs in a game.
The Tigers hit first as the road team, and they didn’t waste any time getting to work.
After Devon Murphy drove in two runs with a base hit and Brett Haynes scored on a balk, Purnell stepped to the plate and launched the ball well over a tall left-field fence.
“I saw the left fielder stop, but I didn’t know (if it was gone),” Purnell said. “That’s a high fence.”
Purnell drove in two more runs with a base hit to cap a three-run fourth inning, and Brett Haynes had a sacrifice fly earlier in the inning to bring in a run.
During the four-run fifth inning, Reed Morris had an RBI single, and Murphy had a sacrifice fly.
The Tigers spread the wealth offensively, with nine different players getting hits.
Leadoff hitter Ethan Morton had a double and two runs scored, and Cole Garner had a hit, two walks, and two runs scored.
Murphy had a hit and three RBIs, and Morris, Jace Godwin, Colton Webb and Cade Garner each had one hit.
Cole Garner, making his first varsity start on the mound, threw the first four innings to get the win, and he gave up three hits with six strikeouts, and only one of the three runs he allowed was earned.
Daniel Martin, Colton Webb and Ethan Morton each worked one inning to finish things off, and they combined to hold Heard County to two hits and one unearned run.
Webb and Morton each threw a shutout inning to end it.
Troup is coming off a challenging stretch that included six games at the LakePoint Classic in Emerson.
Troup also crossed the state line to play Auburn on Monday, and it lost 5-0.
With the all-important Region 5-AAAA games on the horizon, Purnell is happy the Tigers have faced off against so many quality teams with top-notch pitchers.
“It’s good for us,” Purnell said. “Last year, we had a so-so schedule, but we didn’t see a lot of good arms. This year, we’re seeing a lot of good arms early.”
For Troup, the pitching has been consistently solid all season, while it’s been hit or miss with the offense.
“Our pitching has been pretty solid, and for the most part our defense has been pretty solid,” said Troup head coach Craig Garner. “We just haven’t been able to hit.”
In Monday’s game, Grayson Garner made his first varsity start at pitcher, and he performed admirably in the 5-0 loss to Auburn.
Garner pitched four innings and held Auburn to four hits, and of the three runs he allowed only one was earned.
Devon Murphy pitched the final two innings for Troup, giving up two hits and two runs.
Reed Morris had two hits for Troup, and Reed Morris had a single.
Troup hosts Central-Phenix City on Friday at 5:55 p.m.