Just a year before, Troup had made it to the state tournament, but the 2010 season was a tough one for the Lady Tigers, who didn’t even make it to the region tournament after finishing seventh out of seven teams.
Coming into this season, Mingo and her team wanted to a lot more.
“We want this to be our breakout season,” Mingo said. “We weren’t happy with the way last season went, and we wanted to come out and show that we have improved.”
Under new head coach and former LaGrange and Georgia Tech standout Blair Shimandle, the Lady Tigers are 9-12, and they’re more than doubled their win total from a year ago.
And while the Lady Tigers have struggled to a 2-6 record in Region 6-AAA, they’ve played toe-to-toe with the region’s elite teams like Columbus and Carrollton, at fifth place in the region they’re a near lock to make it to the region tournament.
The Lady Tigers can take a big step toward wrapping up that spot in the region tournament with a home win over Central-Carroll today.
Central-Carroll beat Troup 4-1 in the first meeting this season.
The Lady Tigers will take on Shaw on Thursday before ending the regular season against Haralson County and LaGrange next week.
Mingo has had a lot to do with Lady Tigers’ improvement this season.
After a breakout freshman season that saw her rise to be one of the leaders at the plate for the team, Mingo wanted to be an even greater asset for her team this fall.
“I have been working over the summer a lot on just getting better,” Mingo said. “This year I just have been a lot more motivated. I just wanted to get better and do all I can to help my team out.”
Mingo’s work over the summer honing her craft at the plate has paid dividends, as she leads the team in hitting and provides a potent threat at the cleanup spot.
“Kalah really gives us a big bat in the middle of the lineup,” head coach Blair Shimandle said. “She also provides a little protection for our other batters in the lineup now that pitchers are starting to recognize her.”
Mingo said she and all of the players came into this season committed to staying together and not letting things go south if the wins aren’t always there.
So far, the Lady Tigers have done that.
“We are a more of a team. We are a little more united than we have been,” Mingo said. “We lean on each other, and trust each other to come through in the big situations.”
The Lady Tigers have done it with a roster that includes just one senior, Kendra Wiard, and three juniors, shortstop Jessica Gilbert, pitcher Taylor Morris and catcher Hannah Easterwood.
The other players are either freshmen or sophomores.
In addition to Mingo, other sophomores who have played a lot are Alex Duncan (third base) and Jordan Pike (first base), and freshmen Ashley Murphy (second base), Sidney Green (outfield) and Katelyn Thomas have also played a lot.
The Lady Tigers have made their share of youthful mistakes this season, but Shimandle said the attitude has always remained positive.
“As a player and as a coach, I have learned that you have to have the team chemistry,” Shimandle said. “You have to have someone their to pick you up. It makes you a little more comfortable.”
Added Mingo: “Not only are we getting better, but we are having fun and that helps a lot.”
With four games left in the regular season Mingo said the team isn’t satisfied to just rest on what it has accomplished so far.
“We want to be playing in October,” Mingo said. “That is our main goal right now is to get through these next two weeks and get to the region tournament and hopefully win some games at state.”