LAGRANGE – The Troup Tigers are going to have a lot of good days this season.
Friday wasn’t one of them.
Drew Haywood hit a three-run home run and was the winning pitcher as Northside-Columbus beat Troup 14-3 in a game that ended after five innings because of the mercy rule.
Troup began the week with a 5-1 win over the rival LaGrange Grangers to improve to 3-0, but they fell to East Coweta 4-3 on Wednesday before getting run-ruled by Northside on Friday.
“The biggest thing we’re going to take out of it is the fact that our guys deserved to be humbled,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “They’ve got to know and understand and realize that we’re not near as good as they think we are, and we’ve got to go back to doing the little things that we’ve always done to be successful.”
Northside got off to a quick start.
After Northside’s first two players reached base, Haywood got a pitch he could handle, and he drove the ball over the outfield fence for a three-run home run.
Starting pitcher Jarred Helton retired the next three batters to end the inning, and Troup came to bat in the bottom of the first down 3-0.
Troup senior Bo Halcomb got things started with an infield single, and he stole second and went to third on an error before scoring on a Ryan Bliss base hit.
After Winston Turner walked and Miles Cameron reached on an infield hit, Helton’s sacrifice fly brought in Bliss to make it a 3-2 game.
With the bases still loaded, Haywood got a flyball to end the inning, and Northside had a 3-2 lead.
The Patriots, thanks in large part to a tremendous diving catch by Cameron in center field, were kept off the board in the top of the second, but the Tigers were retired in order in the bottom of the inning.
The top of the third inning began with Bliss, Troup’s shortstop, making a nice play on a slow roller for the first out, but the Patriots were about to explode.
With two outs, Tyler Pace doubled, Seth Shadix followed with an RBI single, and Gage Brown’s home run brought in two more runs to make it 6-2.
The Patriots added three more runs in the top of the fourth on an RBI double by Chantler Valero and run-scoring singles by Haywood and Brown, and the lead was 9-2.
The Tigers scored their final run in the fourth inning.
Colby Williams led off with a single, and with two outs, Cooper Doughman popped the ball up on the infield, and a Northside player lost sight of it, and the ball landed on the dirt for an RBI single.
Brandon Gay followed with a double to put runners on second and third, but Haywood got a popout to end the inning, and Troup still trailed 9-3.
Northside capped the scoring with five runs in the top of the fifth, and Alex Royal and Shadix both had RBI hits.
The Tigers tried to put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth.
Cameron doubled and Williams followed with a single, but Haywood got the third out, and that was that.
Helton started and pitched the first three innings for Troup, and Colby Bridwell and Tremayne Tolbert each threw one inning.
It was a tough day for the Tigers, and Garner said everyone will use the loss as a learning tool.
“We’ll all learn from it, players, coaches, everybody, and we’ll go back to the grind,” Garner said.
Troup will look to get back on track when it visits Callaway on Tuesday, and it has another road game against Brookwood on Thursday.
Troup begins its Region 5-AAAA schedule on March 15 with a home game against Woodward Academy.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports