Troup celebrates four, brushes aside Riverdale on senior night
Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Tuesday was an extra special day for the Troup softball team. The Tigers got to celebrate four of their own on senior night while wollaping Riverdale in a doubleheader in the process.
TROUP – 15
RIVERDALE – 0
Troup had little problem in either game and battered the Raiders 15-0 in the first game that lasted all of 2.5 innings.
The Tigers blew the game right open from the offset, scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning.
All four seniors got the start, but it was Madeira Sirmons who shined brightest in game one. The steady first baseman was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored.
Fellow senior Haley Kitchens had a big showing as well, getting her first start of the season on the mound, pitching the first inning with two strikeouts. It was a nostalgic moment for the senior, who started life with Troup as a pitcher in the eighth grade, but eventually she became a stalwart in the outfield.
Kitchens was also 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs from the plate.
The other two seniors were no slouches in the game as Patience Watkins and Hadilee Arnold each had two hits.
Sheniyah Philpot also had two hits, while Gracie Baker, Kaylee Umfress and Kaitlyn Smalley all had a hit apiece. Zoe Graham did not wind up with a hit in game one, but still drove in two runs.
Umfress pitched the final two innings of the game, striking out four batters.
TROUP – 16
RIVERDALE – 0
It was rinse and repeat for the Tigers in game two as they blew out the Raiders 16-0 in 2.5 innings of play.
Troup jumped on Riverdale from the opening frame once again, taking a commanding 11-0 lead after one before burying the Raiders with five runs in the second.
Arnold got the chance to shine in game two, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate. Fellow seniors Sirmons and Watkins had two hits each while Kitchens had one to go along with her three runs scored.
Philpot had a big game two offensively, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
Anna Grace Keller, Umfress and Baker all had two hits each while Kennedy McCoy and Graham had one apiece.
McCoy got the start in game two, striking out the side. She eventually made way for Kitchens, who pitched in a competitive game for likely the final time on Tuesday. Kitchens pitched two innings, allowing one hit on one strikeout.
MEET THE SENIORS:
The four seniors — Arnold, Kitchens, Sirmons and Watkins have been playing softball together since they were 10 years old and the bond they share goes beyond softball.
“We have been through literally everything together,” Sirmons said as the four shared a laugh. “We’ve grown together, improved together, it’s been a lot.”
While the bond is strong between these four, the bond with this year’s Tiger team goes beyond grades and classifications.
“I feel like this year’s team is the closest we’ve ever been,” Sirmons said.
“This year’s team has such a tight bond, and you can tell that the younger girls are sad that we are leaving,” Arnold said.
These last four-plus years have been a learning experience for these four Tigers.
“We have really learned to play together as a team,” Watkins said. “We have been playing travel ball together since we were young, so that helped.
“This is bittersweet because every memory with them is a good memory.”
Three of the four got a chance to play for the Troup JV team when they were eighth graders and the fourth, Arnold, was up there the following year. The four have been through so much during those 4-5 years together with the Tigers.
“I loved every second of it,” Kitchens said. “It was a great experience, and it really shaped me. I love being a Tiger.”
This will likely be the final run for all four playing competitive softball, though Arnold will have some travel ball after the high school season ends. It will be a bittersweet goodbye to the game for the four.
They are not ready to hang up the cleats yet and these four Tigers have some life lift to give Troup softball the rest of the season.
“We are hoping for some state wins and a deep playoff run,” Sirmons said as the other three cheered in agreement.
Troup (9-9) is now 5-4 in region play. The Tigers will host Whitewater for a crucial region clash on Thursday.