Coach Curt Longshore and the Troup National All-Stars made a first impression that Taylor County will never forget.
In the opening round of the Dixie Youth District Baseball Tournament, Troup National beat Taylor County in a 9-1 landslide on Friday night at the Harris Complex in LaGrange. Troup National blew the rusty doors off Taylor County with 15 hits in the 11 and 12-year-old game.
“It’s always important to win that first game. We played solid defense, and we put the ball in play,” said Longshore, who wasn’t surprised by anything that he saw from his red hot Troup National team.
The local boys began the game by knocking Taylor County on its heels with back-to-back home runs from Colton Esposito and Trevor Booton in the top of the first inning. Troup National would tack on another run for a 3-0 advantage after an Avery Hewell single, a Bryson Cockrell double and a Taylor County throwing error.
After just a half-inning the Taylor County All-Stars had some doubts. Troup National never looked back. But if it did, Troup National would have seen a Taylor County team shaking its head. Troup National was playing some mind games, and Taylor County was getting rattled.
“We got down, and we could not get back. We left our pitches up, and they hit it hard. We need good pitching and defense,” said Taylor County head coach Brad Lawhorn.
The visitors would give up another run in the top of the second inning. Troup National took a 4-0 lead on a Dallas Pearson bunt single and a Taylor County three-base throwing error. Troup National could do no wrong.
The Taylor County All-Stars could do no right, or so it seemed.
“We kept making mistakes,” said Taylor County first baseman Aaron Fossel. “We were scared of the speed of their pitchers.”
But the Troup National starting pitcher, Esposito, was throwing mostly knuckle balls and a few curve balls. Esposito and Troup National relief pitcher Steven Hill combined for a four hitter against the Taylor County All-Stars.
They didn’t get their first hit until the bottom of the third inning on a Justin Eubanks single to right field. Fossel had some brief success, too, with a double in the fifth inning. Emmanuel Burgess and Nolan Hunter also scraped up hits against Troup National, too, with some late-inning singles.
But the Troup National All-Stars dominated this tournament game. Troup National scored again in the third inning with a Preston Pressley infield single and one more big rip from Esposito with an RBI double. Troup National was sitting on a 5-0 perch.
“We made contact. Everybody was doing something to help the team,” said Esposito. “They were throwing it down the pipe.”
Bryson Cockrell was playing a little “hit and run” for Troup National in the top of the fourth inning. Cockrell singled and stole second base. He also scored on a Taylor County wild pitch. The Troup National All-Stars leaped to a 6-0 lead.
The game was getting away from Taylor County. Troup National dug in and had itself a three-run rally in the fifth inning. Pressley and Esposito stroked RBI singles. Esposito would score the ninth run for Troup National on a Taylor County throwing error.
The only run of the game for the Taylor County All-Stars was scored in the bottom of the fifth inning. The big blow in the inning came on a Fossel double.
Troup National still took a 9-1 win to the house. These all-stars kind of expected something like that.
“We have good pitching, hitting and defense. We just loaded up and hit it (against Taylor County),” said Troup National catcher Trevor Booton.