2023 season preview: Troup baseball looks for an even deeper playoff run in year three under Glisson
Published 9:33 am Saturday, February 11, 2023
The first two years of Troup baseball under coach Tanner Glisson have been extremely successful. Year one saw the Tigers win a program record 29 games and claim a region title and make it all the way to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Troup went on another magical quarterfinal run a season ago and Glisson has set the standard high for his team since taking over.
“Each year is a little bit different,” Glisson said. “Year one we surprised some people. Year two we did not meet expectations early in the season but by the playoffs we were playing really good baseball. We just kind of ran out of gas in the quarterfinals. We have a group of seniors now that have been there and done that twice so we’re hoping they can push us a little further this year.”
Troup is entering into an extremely difficult region this year. Troup comes into the season ranked no. 5 in the Coaches Box Georgia pre-season poll for 4A, but the Tigers will have to compete with three other teams in the top-10 in 4A (no. 2 LaGrange, no. 8 Whitewater and no. 9 Starr’s Mill). Other region opponents include Fayette County, who went 21-12 and made the playoffs a season ago and Trinity Christian, who made the second round of the 1A playoffs last year.
“We have our work cut out for us, and we are in a region with some really good teams,” Glisson said. “It is going to be competitive and super balanced. We are going to have to fight our butts off for one of those top four spots in the playoffs.”
It will be an onslaught of tough opponents for the Tigers. It does not stop at region play as the Tigers always take on a tough non-region schedule as well.
“You’re going to win some and lose some,” Glisson said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a situation where a team runs through this region. I think it is wide open. We have to stay healthy, play fundamentally sound and get hot at the right time.”
Ty Medders was the starter a season ago and will return to that role as a senior this year.
“Ty is going to bat leadoff for us, and he is one of the best leaders on our team,” Glisson said. “He is baseball savvy and can play a number of positions on our team but right now he is the guy behind the plate.”
Medders transferred in from LaGrange High and enjoyed a successful first season with the Tigers a season ago.
Devon Murphy will be at the top of the order and has the most experience among this year’s pitching staff. Murphy has big game experience and served as the team’s no. 2 pitcher behind Daniel Martin a season ago and will slot in as the no. 1 this year.
“He pitched in some big playoff games for us last year,” Glisson said. “He’s a gamer, and he works extremely hard and sets the tone for us.”
The Tigers graduated Martin and Brett Haynes, who did not pitch last year due to injury and will have some big shoes to fill for the guys stepping in for them.
Caleb Allen missed all of last season with an arm injury and now as a sophomore will be one of the key pitchers for the Tigers this season. Tripp Cummings got some time on the mound last year and will be expected to take on a bigger role on the mound this year.
Demetrius Hardnett got some time on the mound a season ago and the sophomore is more confident now that he is in year two with the Tigers.
“He has some work to do, but he is very talented,” Glisson said.
“Those four guys are going to give us some stability, and we have some good talent to work with.”
The infield is going to see a return of more than a few familiar faces.
Senior Josh McDonald will once again be the starter at first base. Fisher Baltzell will be the man at second base and is expected to take a step forward now that he is a sophomore. When he is not pitching, Murphy will be at shortstop with power hitting Reed Morris at third base.
“That whole group from last year is still intact,” Glisson said.
When Murphy is on the mound, Baltzell will move over to shortstop and sophomore Jaxon Duncan will slide in at second base.
While the infield is littered with talent, none stand out quite like Morris who hit .400 with 5 home runs – two of which were grand slams – and 22 RBIs across the Tigers eight games in the playoffs last year.
“He’s a professional hitter,” Glisson said. “He has a really good eye at the plate, and he is very disciplined. We want Reed swinging the bat as much as possible. What Reed did down the stretch is more of the Reed than you saw in the beginning of the season.
Will Keeter will be a returning starter in left field. He will be one of the senior leaders for the Tigers squad this year.
The other two outfield posts will see new starters as Mason Atkinson and Brett Haynes departed last year to head to the next level of baseball.
“We are probably going to be looking at a rotation for a little bit with Parker Townsend being a freshman with a really good glove and Garrison Edwards rotating in centerfield,” Glisson said. “In right field we are looking at Carson Walker, another freshman, and Demetrius Hardnett, a sophomore. Right now, we are going to be the guys battling it out.”
FRESHMAN TO WATCH:
“Carson Spears is another freshman that we really like,” Glisson said.