After making it all the way to the championship series of the Dixie Youth Baseball state tournament, Troup American finally met its match in a powerful Lee County ballclub.
After falling 11-1 in the first game of the championship series on Friday, Troup American hung tough with Lee County on Saturday before falling 7-1.
There were mostly smiles as the players and coaches accepted their runnerup trophies on Saturday, though, and coach Brent
Bailey said that’s the way it should be.
“We’ve had a great time,” Bailey said. “They’ve come together as a team, and they’ve played good. I wish I could keep them all. Four or five of them have to move on (to the next age group), and the rest of us, hopefully we’ll be back here next year.”
Troup American reached the title series by winning its eight-team bracket with a 4-1 record.
On Thursday, Troup American rallied to beat Winder 7-5 to earn the title shot.
Lee County, meanwhile, went unbeaten in pool play, and that included a pair of hard-fought wins over Troup National.
In Friday’s game, Lee County needed just four innings to dispatch Troup American to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Saturday’s game was much more competitive.
Troup pitcher Bryce Haynes did a nice job of slowing down Lee County’s potent offense, although Lee County did bang out a couple of home runs in the fifth inning to expand its lead from three to six.
“I was impressed with my boys hanging in,” Bailey said. “I was glad we went six with them. (Friday night) we got run-ruled. To be able to go six with them, that says a lot about our team.”
It was a 4-1 game until Lee County padded its lead with the three-run fifth.
A couple of errors proved costly for Troup in the inning.
“They capitalized on our errors,” Bailey said.
Troup County took the lead with a run in the top of the first, but Lee County tied it with a run in the bottom of the inning, and it added two runs in the second and one run in the third to go up 4-1.
It could have been a lot worse, though.
Haynes did a nifty job of pitching out of trouble to keep his team in the game.
Center fielder Christian Alford highlighted the defensive effort with a bunch of nice catches.
In one inning, Alford had all three of the put-outs.
“Bryce pitched good, and Christian Alford, you can’t say enough about him,” Bailey said. “Just the whole tournament, he’s been outstanding out in the field.”
Troup American finished with four hits, with Alford delivering a first-inning double.
Ben Stogner, Nolan Tucker and Byron Butts also reached base, and Stogner had a pair of stolen bases.