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Baseball fans rejoice, SBC tourney in Troy

Next week may mark the last full week of school for high schools in the area, but something exciting will be beginning in Troy Tuesday.

The Troy Trojans baseball team is hosting the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship tournament May 20-23 and there will be a Family Night May 19. This should be a great time to go out and enjoy some baseball.

Troy head coach Bobby Pierce is excited to show off Troy University and the city of Troy to the baseball fans of the other teams in the Sun Belt and he had a challenge for the Trojan faithful.

“Just like Larry Blakeney has told all the Trojan fans, ‘If you want to go to a bigger bowl and you want to do bigger and greater things you better get your tail down to New Orleans for the New Orleans Bowl because if we don’t show support for what we are doing then we don’t get to take that next step,’” Pierce said. “So here we are in baseball with an opportunity to show all seven other participants, the Sun Belt officials and any other people that may be here, regional committee people, that we are serious about what we do, we support what we do and this is our opportunity to either prove that or say ‘OK we had our chance and we didn’t support it.’”

Pierce highly emphasized that the Troy community that is crazy about baseball needs to come out and support the Trojans on the diamond.

If those stands at Riddle-Pace are packed with Troy fans Pierce and the Trojans would take a giant step in showing the nation that Troy is serious about baseball.

This year’s team has a decent shot at a regional as well. If they win the tournament they get the automatic bid, but they could get into a regional without winning the tournament.

Four of the teams in the tournament should be in the Top-60 in the RPI standings when the tournament begins. This could be different in different places, but Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Troy and Florida International are all in contention for an at-large bid to a regional.

Having the Top-4 teams playing for a chance to continue the season after the tournament combined with having the other four teams fighting for the automatic bid should make for an interesting week of baseball at Riddle-Pace.

The city of Troy has seen its share of baseball success, with a couple Dixie World Series titles under its belt and one AHSAA Class 5A baseball state championship in the trophy case, but if the Troy Trojans took home a Sun Belt tournament championship in Troy and the Trojan faithful were not in the stands that would be a sad sight.

Every person who follows and loves baseball should be in the stands at least once next week to support the Trojans. And if it is not to support the Trojans all fans should want to support the game of baseball and go watch some quality baseball.

The games start at 9 a.m. every morning and will probably run until about 10 p.m. every night from Wednesday through Saturday of next week.

But before the tournament kicks off Wednesday, there will be a Family Fun Night Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The evening kicks off with the Sun Belt Conference awards ceremony and will slide into a home run derby that will feature one player from each participating league team. There will also be a youth home run derby, autograph signing and fireworks show.

Matt Nascone is the sports editor for The Messenger. He can be reached at 670-6315 or online at matt.nascone@troymessenger.com.