Athlete of the week: Fisher Baltzell is on a tear for the Tigers

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Fisher Baltzell has been on a tear for the Troup Tigers. The junior infielder has been putting together quite the run for the Tigers at the plate as they sit on the eve of the postseason. 

Whether it is hitting for the cycle on Mar. 29 against Fayette County or hitting two home runs, including a grand slam, on April 9 against Trinity Christian, Baltzell has been finding ways to make a huge impact from the plate.

“I was trying to hit a home run, but I knew if I got to single, I was gonna get the cycle. It was awesome,” Baltzell said. “I’ve never hit for the cycle in my life so that was pretty cool and the grand slam? That was even better.”

The Troup baseball team is full of underclassmen playing big roles leaving Baltzell as one of the only veterans on the team. Being a leader is a role he has embraced this season.

“I’ve tried to develop myself to be more of a leader on the team. Last year, we had we had our seniors, and they kind of led the team and we only have one senior this year,” Baltzell said. “I didn’t really try as much as I did this year the last couple of years to be a ladder for the team. Coach (Tanner) Glisson told me before the season that I needed to step up this year.”

Baltzell played sporadically as a freshman before locking down a starting spot as a sophomore. Always known for his stout defense, Baltzell has put the pieces together at the plate and has enjoyed a breakout campaign.

“I’ve always felt like my defense has been really good, but my offense is where I’ve been struggling,” he said. “This year it has really come together on offense, and now I’m just going out there and having fun every rep.”

One of the other reasons Baltzell is feeling confident is that he is back in his natural position. The junior had to play the majority of last season at second base, except when Devon Murphy was on the mound and he could slide over to shortstop.

“My whole life I’ve played shortstop,” Baltzell said. “I’ll play wherever they need me to, but it doesn’t feel natural.”

Murphy was a key figure in Baltzell’s maturation. Baltzell still looks up to Murphy, a freshman player at Coastal Alabama.

“He really is my biggest role model, and he really helped me become a better shortstop,” Baltzell said. 

Baltzell is one of the only Tigers that has experience in big games. The team’s lone senior — Tripp Cummings — is strictly a pitcher and the team missed the playoffs last season, so Baltzell is one of the only players on the team to play in big games.

“These games still give me goosebumps, but I just tell the guys to take in the moment and have fun,” he said.

The diamond is home for  Baltzell and has been since he moved to Troup County from Alabama in middle school. He made a seamless transition from private school to public school when he enrolled at Long Cane. 

Before moving to Troup County he was a two-sport athlete, but after two major injuries on the gridiron, Baltzell called it quits. Now he is focused on baseball and the occasional trip out to the lake for some fishing.

“I used to be a quarterback and it was fun, but then I broke my collarbone twice, and then I started to get migraines, and after that, I didn’t want to risk it,” Baltzell said.

“I just want to play baseball and fish,” he added, flashing a big smile.