The stakes were higher, but the result was the same.
The Troup National 11-12-year-old all-stars have dismantled every opponent they’ve faced in the district and state tournaments, and that didn’t change Thursday in the opening game of the Dixie Youth Baseball state-championship series in Dalton.
Facing Newton County, Troup needed less than an hour to post an 11-1 victory to move within one victory of a state title.
Pitcher Kevin Craft was nearly perfect, and C.J. Gallatin blasted a two-run home run.
The two teams were set to play again at 10 a.m., with a third game, if needed, to follow.
“We’ll just go out there one more time and see what happens,” said Kevin Howard, an assistant coach on the team.
Troup made it look easy through their first six tournament games, outscoring their opponents 72-7.
Only one of the games went the full six innings, and that was a 16-4 victory over Lee County.
Because of the 10-run mercy rule, Troup needed just four innings to dispatch Newton County.
Craft was dominant.
Outside of a two-out home run in the third inning, Craft was perfect.
He faced one batter over the minimum, and six of the 12 outs he recorded were via strikeout.
“He threw a lot of good breaking balls and kept them off-balance,” Howard said.
Troup didn’t get on track offensively until the third inning when it broke out for eight runs.
Gallatin capped the rally with a two-run home run, Jake Farrar had a double, Ty McCann, Ben Anderson, Jackson Shelnutt each had hits, and Wyatt Frailey and Craft had RBIs.
Troup added three more runs in the fourth inning.
Anderson knocked in one run with a groundout, and Frailey reached on an infield single for an RBI.
McCann had a hit, and Parker Pearson, Matthew Anderson and Brandon Gay each reached on walks.
With the 10-run lead, all Troup had to do was keep Newton from scoring, and the game would be over.
Craft accommodated, retiring Newton in order in the top of the fourth to finish it.
OF NOTE: Check out www.lagrangenews.com later today to find out if Troup won the title.