Bayou Bound: Troup 12u Nationals prepare to represent Georgia in Dixie Youth tournament in Louisiana

Published 1:22 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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The Troup 12u Nationals are riding high heading into the Southeast Dixie Youth tournament in Louisiana. The anticipation is building, with games set to start on Aug. 4 and the championship game scheduled for Aug. 9. 

“This is a once in a lifetime experience and something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” head coach Rusty Cook said. “Not every 12-year-old gets the opportunity to go to Louisiana and play in a tournament like this.”

The Nationals took care of business in the Georgia Dixie Youth tournament earlier this month, going 4-1 in the process. After winning the first two games of the tournament in dominant fashion — both wins came by double digits — the Nationals fell to Perry 8-6 in a back-and-forth game and had to find a way to regroup, which they were able to do.

“These guys have played a lot of baseball in their young lives and they know what it feels like to be up sometimes and down sometimes,” Cook said. “They were able to push through it.”

The Nationals were able to just edge out Dublin 2-1 in the semifinals before earning a rematch against Perry in the championship game. Troup showed great resolve, blowing out Perry 10-0.

“We really thought we were going to win the first game against them, but they came back and beat us,” Cook said. “Our guys stayed positive and never put their heads down and feel sorry for themselves, and we came out and run ruled them the next day.”

The game ended after just five innings as an explosion of joy overtook the Nationals dugout.

“It was just pure excitement,” Cook said. “I’ve never seen them come flying out of the dugout like that.”

It was no one man show for the Nationals as they had contributions from up and down their order, with every player making a contribution. The team consists of players Connor Arrington, Ben Brown, Ezra Cook, AJ Griffith, Hunter Jordan, Wyatt Martin, Bryson Pike, Cam Poe, Taeden Pope, Peyton Spears, Roswell Swanson and Liam Turner. The team is led by coaches Bill Bush, Russ Brown, Rusty Cook and Justin Spears.

“We have guys from all three middle schools, and they have played with each other and against each other practically their whole lives,” Cook said. “This is a good group of guys.”

Troup will continue to practice and prepare as the team inches closer to its date with Tennessee in the opening game for the Nationals on Aug. 4. The Nationals will be the Georgia representative battling it out with teams from 11 other states.

“We have put in a lot of work. The parents have put in a lot of work. It really has taken a lot to get us here,” Cook said. “It has been a lot of fun so far, and we have received a lot of support from the parents and throughout the community.”