After Troup baseball’s 10-2 blowout of LaGrange Tuesday night, one thing is clear: it’s the Year of the Tiger in LaGrange, GA.
Troup blasted through Tuesday’s rematch with in-county rival LaGrange, and as the dust settled, the Tigers went home with a combined score of 19-2 over the Grangers for the season.
The Grangers sought to avenge a crushing 9-0 loss to the Tigers earlier in the season. Coming into the game, the young Granger squad looked to level the playing field.
Unlike before, LaGrange now boasted a home-field advantage. The Tigers would have to beat them on their own turf.
But perhaps the biggest advantage the Grangers had was their region record. LaGrange had a rough start to the year before improving to a respectable 5-2 record in region play. A young team beleaguered with growing pains now seemed to be in position to take revenge on their fiercest of rivals.
Indeed, LaGrange entered Tuesday’s game red hot on the heels of a stunning walk-off grand slam by freshman Will Alford and 6-3 victory over Starr’s Mill last week.
For the first half of the game, it seemed the Granger game plan was working. As late as the sixth inning, the Tigers held only a narrow 3-2 lead.
Troup pounced early, with Ryan Bliss opening with a home run. Caleb McCurry hit a double and scored off a sacrifice fly by Cooper Doughman.
The Grangers responded with a single from Cole Freeman and an RBI by Will Alford to bring Freeman home.
The game lagged at 2-1 in the second with both teams failing to find offensive success.
Troup broke the monotony in the third by Mc-Curry getting on base with an error by LaGrange’s second baseman. Colby Williams hit a single with an RBI to send McCurry home and put the Tigers up 3-1.
As the game moved into the second half, the Tigers clung to their narrow lead. Both teams failed to score in the fourth, but the Grangers managed to close the gap in the fifth with a double by Walton Lanier followed by a double from Cole Freeman to put Lanier on the board.
With the game drawing to a near close, the Tigers and the Grangers appeared to be set to deliver a nailbiting performance.
But LaGrange was no match for the offensive firepower Troup unleashed in the final two innings.
Williams, who pitched eight strikeouts for the Tigers, kick-started a stagnant Troup offensive with a home run at the top of the sixth. Cooper Doughman took to the bases after being hit by a pitch and Brantley Robinson came home off a sacrifice fly by Cade Garner.
After LaGrange failed to score in the bottom of the sixth, the two teams entered the seventh with the Grangers trailing 5-2.
The dawn of the seventh saw two heated teams looking to put the game away. On-field tensions flared as the young athletes began to feel the pressure.
Troup rose to the challenge with a spectacular display of athleticism in the seventh. Luke Purnell and Ethan Morton took to the bases before a Ryan Bliss double scored Purnell.
What happened next was nothing short of miraculous.
Garret Casey took to bat and scored a three-run homer that brought Ryan Bliss and Morton home. The Tigers earned their third home-run of the game, with Casey scoring his first one ever.
Troup climbed to an impressive 10-2 lead over the Grangers before Bliss took the mound in the seventh to finish the game with a strike out.
The Tigers are now 8-1 in region play, while the Grangers are 5-3. Both teams have three region games remaining.
The author of this article can be reached at jboggs@ troupcountynews. net