Troy rallies to second win in World Series

Published 1:40 am Monday, August 3, 2009

With the Troy Junior Dixie Boys leading Louisiana 11-9 going into the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday night, Chandler Avant was getting ready to go the mound knowing he had just seven pitches to throw before he would be held out of the next day’s games.

However, Avant was not going to let that stop him.

“Coach Allen (Blackmon) asked me before the seventh inning if I could finish it in seven pitches and I told him that I didn’t know about that, but I was finishing it, pitch count or no pitch count,” Avant said.

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Avant did finish the game, holding Louisiana scoreless to preserve the win. The clutch performance on the mound was not the only contribution Troy got from Avant. Avant also had a three-run homer in the top of the fourth inning that tied the game at 8.

“I was just trying to get a base hit,” Avant said. “I wasn’t trying to do too much, but I was able to center one up and get a hold of it.”

Tying the game was a huge accomplishment for Troy, as it had fallen behind 8-2 after just three innings of play.

“These guys just wouldn’t quit,” said head coach Sam Kitchens. “They showed a lot of heart. I’m real proud of them. They had some big hits when they needed them. They could have quit, but they just fought hard to make the comeback.”

Avant said he wasn’t sure if the ball was going to clear the fence on his home run, nor was he sure how to express his excitement.

“I thought it might be gone, but I wasn’t sure,” Avant said. “I was pretty happy. I can’t really explain how I felt.”

Avant’s homer was the big blow in a fourth inning that saw Troy score eight runs off of five hits, two walks and two Louisiana errors.

Part of Troy’s ability to get on base in the fourth was their patience at plate.

“I told them to be a little selective,” Kitchens said. “We just wanted to make sure that they were going to throw us strikes. We weren’t impatient and they did what they were supposed to.”

Avant, however, had orders to be aggressive.

“Avant had the green light,” Kitchens said. “He was going full speed and we weren¹t holding anything back.”

As far as Avant finishing the game went, Kitchens said the decision was an easy one.

“I didn’t give it a thought,” Kitchens said. “We had to win this game tonight. We fought to hard to comeback. We could not take a chance because we only had a couple of pitchers left we could throw.”

Avant went 2-5 with three RBIs to lead Troy¹s offense. He also pitched four innings of relief, giving up no runs on three hits, while striking out seven.

Unfortunately for Troy, Avant will be ineligible to pitch tomorrow due to surpassing the 45-pitch count rule. By rule, Avant must rest for 30 hours before pitching again.

However, the rest of Troy¹s staff will be ready to go, including Tripp Blackmon, whose status was in doubt following an injury to fingers on his throwing hand suffered in Troy¹s opening round game Saturday night.

“We¹ll have everybody tomorrow except Chandler,” Kitchens said. “Blackmon will be ready to go. His hand’s great.”

Troy will play Georgia Monday at 1 p.m. The winner of that game will face Texas at 7 p.m., while the loser will face the winner of South Carolina and Mississippi in an elimination game at 7 p.m.

Click here for photos from Sunday’s game.