Historic day for Tigers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a history-making day for the Troup Tigers.
With Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep of New Hampstead in the opening round of the Class AAAA state baseball playoffs, Troup (27-3) set the program record for wins in a season.
The Tigers, who finished the regular season at 25-3 while winning the Region 2-AAAA championship, set the record with a 15-0 win in the first game, and they finished off the sweep with a 15-0 victory in game two.
Troup will host Cairo or Perry in a second-round matchup next week with a berth in the final eight on the line.
“I’m happy for the guys,” said Troup head coach Tanner Glisson. “We broke the school record for wins. We’re 27-3, and we move on, and we earn the right to play another week.”
It is a close-knit team, and the bond the players have with one another has no doubt greatly contributed to the success this season.
“Chemistry is everything,” said Ethan Morton, a senior infielder. “I feel like these guys are my brothers, and I think that’s what we’ve had. We’re a band of brothers, and we play for each other.”
Another senior, catcher Colton Webb, is grateful to be a part of a team filled with players he has grown so close to.
“Being here four years, really five, and being on the team that breaks (the record), it’s a lot of fun, especially doing it with these guys,” Webb said.
Troup didn’t face much opposition against New Hampstead, which finished fourth out of four teams in Region 3-AAAA.
Three pitchers combined to hold New Hampstead to two hits in seven innings, and Troup banged out 24 hits in the two games combined, with Josh McDonald hitting a home run in the first game.
“We hit the ball well, and we got everybody in, and we got to honor our seniors, so it was a good day,” Glisson said.
Morton said the Tigers came into the series with a workmanlike approach.
“Just come out here and play our game, and just do what we’ve got to do, and move on,” Morton said.
In game one, Daniel Martin pitched a three-inning one-hitter, and he had four strikeouts.
The Tigers jumped on top with four runs in the first inning, and they added five runs in the second inning before finishing things off with six runs in the bottom of the third.
Cole Cummings ended the game with an RBI double that brought the run rule into play.
McDonald continued his torrid hitting of late with a three-run home run in the second inning, and he has a homer in each of Troup’s past three games.
McDonald finished the game with two hits and three RBIs, and he scored three runs.
Webb had a two-run double, and Will Noles, Tre Mosley and Cummings each had a hit and an RBI.
Hunter Kitchens had two hits, Devon Murphy and Mason Atkinson each had a hit, and Brett Haynes had an RBI.
Murphy also got hit by a pitch twice, and Atkinson, Haynes, McDonald and Reed Morris were also hit by pitches.
In the second game, the Tigers broke it open by scoring 11 runs in the top of the second inning to take a 13-0 lead, and they capped the scoring with two runs in the fourth inning.
Haynes got the start in game two and he pitched two lock-down innings, giving up just one hit while striking out five batters.
Cummings pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit while striking out three.
Morton led the offensive effort with four hits and two RBIs, and he also scored four runs.
Martin had two hits with a double while driving in two runs, and Kitchens had two hits with an RBI, and his double in the second inning came within inches of sailing over the left-field fence for a home run.
Mosley added two hits and an RBI, Keeter had an RBI double, and Morris had a hit and an RBI.
McDonald had two RBIs, Atkinson had a hit, Dwartney Wortham walked and scored a run, and Noles and Cummings each reached on a walk.
Once again the Tigers often found their way on base by getting hit by the baseball.
Webb was hit by a pitch twice, and Haynes, Keeter, McDonald and Andrew Townsend also got hit by pitches.