It’s Perry’s turn.
After losing to the Troup Tigers the past two seasons in the Class AAA state playoffs, the Panthers turned the tables this season, sweeping a doubleheader on Friday to advance to the second round.
After holding off a late Troup rally in Game 1 to win 5-4, Perry got a complete-game performance from Sam Kinnas to take the second game 4-2.
It was a disappointing ending to a successful season for the Tigers, who finished second in Region 2-AAA to earn the home playoff series.
Troup’s biggest problem on Friday was an inability to hit with men on base.
The Tigers left more than 20 runners on base, and they came up empty in five bases-loaded situations.
The Tigers left the bases loaded four times in Game 1 without scoring.
“It seemed like we were always one hit away from getting runs on the board,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “We just couldn’t find the holes. They were right at them. You tip your hat to them. They made the plays. We ultimately didn’t get the job done.”
For Perry, it was a satisfying win after seeing its season end against Troup in 2007 and 2008.
“They’d beaten us in three games two straight years. It was our turn,” Perry head coach Shawn Masters said. “Anytime you can beat one of these teams from Region 2-AAA you’ve done something.”
sure the series wouldn’t have to go three games.
He limited the Tigers to three hits, and he pitched around a jam in the seventh inning to preserve the win.
After the Tigers loaded the bases, Kinnas got Rus Morman to fly out to center field for the final out of the game.
Kinnas’ thoughts as he watched the ball fly harmlessly to center fielder Adam Nelson?
“I knew we finally beat Troup,” he said. “That was the only thing going through my head. That’s the first time in three tries.”
Troup got solid pitching performances from Brad Bartlett in Game 1 and Brian Alder in Game 2.
Alder pitched a complete game in Game 2, and he held the Panthers scoreless after the third inning.
The Panthers had six hits against Alder, and only five hits in the first game.
Perry scored first in each game, though, and Troup never had a lead.
“They put some runs up early, and they were able to play with the lead,” Garner said.
Perry was up 4-0 in Game 1 after a two-run double by Nelson.
The Tigers began to show some life on offense in the fourth, with Blake Barber driving in a run with a single, and another run scoring when a hard-hit ball by Eric Escobedo was misplayed.
Suddenly the Tigers were within two, and the home crowd was hopping.
The Tigers went down in order in the sixth, but they looked like they were going to rally in the seventh.
With one out, Cody Hunt and Jackson Oliver had back-to-back singles, and with two outs, Escobedo walked to load the bases.
Kinnas worked out of trouble, though, to give his team the sweep.
Kinnas said he just wanted get the ball over the plate and let his defense do its job.
“I just wanted to go in, get a lot of strikes, get ahead, and try to get the leadoff hitter in every inning,” he said.
Game 1 was especially frustrating for the Tigers, who reached double digits in hits but were held scoreless until the sixth inning.
Perry was up 5-0 when Oliver and Barber came through with back-to-back RBI doubles in the sixth to make it a three-run game.
The Tigers kept it going in the seventh.
Morman led off with a single, and Josh King followed with a perfectly-placed bunt for a hit.
After Bartlett flied out deep to center field, Brannon Smith’s RBI single cut Perry’s lead to 5-3.
Hunt’s infield single gave the Tigers another run, but Perry Kiser got Oliver on a hard-hit grounder to end the game.
Oliver, Barber, Morman, King, Hunt and Josh Garland each had two hits, but it wasn’t enough.
Troup appears set to enjoy another strong season in 2010, but that was little consolation Friday.
Garner said the toughest thing was saying goodbye to the four seniors. Barber, Alder, Hunt, and the injured Luke Bailey.
“I hate it for the seniors more than anything. They paved the way for us to have a tradition of making it deep in the playoffs,” Garner said. “I hate it for those guys ending on a note like this. They’re probably the winningest class since the mid-80s.”