On Thursday evening at the George F. Harris Baseball Complex, the Troup National and Troup American 11-12-year-old all-star teams got together for a pair of games to determine which team would receive the automatic invitation the Dixie Youth Baseball state tournament, which will be held in LaGrange in July.
It was Troup National coming away that invitation thanks to a pair of wins, a 10-1 victory in Game 1 and a 10-3 win in the decisive Game 2.
If the two teams had split, a third game would have been played next week, but Troup National made that unnecessary.
Troup American can still make it to state, but it will have to make it through the district tournament to get there.
Larkin Easterwood did a lot of the damage for Troup National.
He pitched a six-inning complete game in Game 1, giving up on run.
At the plate, Easterwood was 4-for-6 with three home runs and nine RBIs during the two games combined.
“That’s what Larkin does,” Troup National coach Bill Johnson said. “He has worked hard all season to get to where he is now, and it has paid off for him. He’s just a kid you can count on and we have to have him if we want to do anything in all-stars this year. I am really proud of him.”
Troup National also got some thunder from Dylan Johnson and Ken Ken Truitt, who each hit two home runs in Game 2.
“That’s a really good team,” Troup American coach Daniel Kirkendall said. “They have been playing together for a while and they just played really well.”
For Troup American, the next test will be July 2 when the team travels to Thomason for the district tournament.
“We have a lot of young ball players but we will go to the district tournament and see if we can make a little noise over there, then come back home and see if we can beat some teams (at state),” Kirkendall said.
Troup National would get the best-of-three series started with a bang when Easterwood connected on a three-run home run in the first inning.
Easterwood would add two more runs in the top of the fourth inning when he connected on his second home run of the game to give Troup National a 5-0 lead.
“They came out focused,” Johnson said . “They were ready for this game. We have been working hard ever since the selections of the teams. We knew that it was going to be a tough game, and our main focus was to throw strikes, play good defense and score runs when you could and that’s what happened. I was really proud of their effort.”
Troup American made some noise in the fifth.
After a walk from Colson Blackburn, a single from Hunter Plant and another walk by Josh Hanson, Seth Prather had an RBI single to push across a run for Troup American, but Easterwood got out of the jam without any more runs scoring.
Troup National would put the game away in the top of the sixth, plating five runs on RBIs from Johnson, Easterwood, Noah Hammett, and a two-run single from Luke Elder.
The second game of the night brought more of the same from Troup National, which got on the board early in the game when Johnson blasted a two-run home run.
The homer bug carried over into the top of the next frame when, after a Luke Elder walk, Truitt blasted a two-run line -rive home run to left field to give Troup National a 4-0 lead.
Easterwood would strike again in the third inning, blasting his third homer of the night, plating three runs and giving his team a 7-0 lead.
Troup American would make a game out of it, though, when Hudson Graham was able to score on a passed ball in the bottom of the frame to get the team on the board.
After Sloan Raper, Austin Gordon, and Alexander Clark all earned walks to open up the bottom of the fourth inning, the team was able to plate two runs thanks to RBI hits from Jordan Ragan and Blackburn.
Troup National pulled away from there, though, getting an RBI single from Matthew Anderson in the top of the fifth, and a two-run hit from Elder in the top of