Clutch hits from Sirmons and Cardwell send Troup to the super regional championship
Published 2:07 pm Thursday, October 19, 2023
Thursday’s playoff game between Troup and Cairo was an absolute war as it went all the way to the 11th inning.
The Troup softball team booked a spot in the super regional finals aka the Sweet 16 for the second straight season. The Tigers won 8-7 to earn a chance to play Perry for a spot in the elite eight in Columbus.
Senior Madeira Sirmons had been in a slump in the playoffs, but she came through in the biggest of moments, delivering a two-run double with two outs in the top of the 11th that proved to be the decisive hit. She made sure this was not her last game with the Tigers in style.
The Tigers had another hero in the game as well. Down 6-5 in the top of the seventh and three outs from their season ending, Kaylee Cardwell hit a one-run single to tie the game at 6 runs each. It was an at-bat that the young Tiger likely will not forget anytime soon.
Without Cardwell, Sirmons would never have had her big moment.
HOW IT GOT THERE:
It was a game full of momentum swings and the Tigers threw the first punch when Haley Kitchens scored on a passed ball in the top of the first inning.
The Syrupmakers quickly tied the game in the bottom of the first before the Tigers recaptured their lead when Hadilee Arnold scored on a wild pitch in the top of the second.
Once again Cairo had the answer and tied the game at two runs in the bottom of the second.
The offenses could not be contained early, and the Tigers were able to score three runs in the third inning to take a commanding 5-2 lead.
Sheniyah Philpot grounded out to drive in the first run of the inning. Arnold, a senior, then came through with one of the biggest hits of her Tiger career when she hit a single that allowed two more runs to reach home for Troup.
The Syrupmakers struck back with two runs in the bottom of the third to cut the Troup lead to just one run (5-4).
Cairo tied the game with a run in the fifth before taking a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the second which set up Damron’s clutch hit.
Starting in the 10th inning a runner was placed on second base for the team at-bat.
Cairo scored a run to trim the Troup lead to just one run and got runners on second and third base, but the Tigers survived.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Smalley got the first playoff start of her career against Cairo, pitching a solid two innings in which she allowed just three hits. The Tigers emptied the bullpen with both Anna Grace Keller and Camdyn Bassett getting important work in the circle. Keller pitched two innings in which she allowed just one hit, but it was Bassett who got the majority of the work in the circle.
She pitched seven innings while allowing just five hits on nine strikeouts.
Bassett and Philpit led the offensive charge with three hits apiece. Senior Patience Watkins had two hits while Keller, Sirmons, Cardwell, Arnold and Gracie Baker had one each.
The Tigers will now play Perry in the super regional championship with the first game starting once the field is ready to go and both teams warm up. Troup will have to beat Perry twice on Thursday to book a spot in the elite eight in Columbus.