Survival of the fittest
The saying “defense wins championships” could hold true for the Troy Americans if they continue to play defense the way they have the last four games.
The Americans defeated Eufaula National 13-6 Wednesday night, securing a bid in Thursday’s Coach Pitch District championship game in the process.
Troy held Eufaula to six runs on just 13 hits, with three of the runs and four of the hits coming in the final inning when the game was out of reach.
“The last three games, they may have made only one error that I was upset about,” said head coach Brett Stallworth. “They’ve been playing perfect ball. Not only defense, but they’re hitting the ball hard as well.”
Troy never trailed in the game, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-RBI single from Walker Stallworth that plated Parker Sessions and Jackson Senn.
The Americans added three more runs in the second on RBI singles from Skylar Kidd and Ryan Ledford, as well as an RBI groundout from Darryl Lee to make it 5-0.
Troy scored again in the third on an RBI groundout by Dalton Stephens that extended the lead to 6-0.
The score remained 6-0 until the bottom of the fourth, when Travion Johnson and Birch Cochran both had RBI singles for Eufaula to cut the Troy lead to 6-2.
Troy’s biggest inning came in the fifth, when Troy scored four runs on an RBI single from Sessions, another two-RBI single from Stallworth and an RBI single from Noah Prestwood.
Eufaula scored in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single from Marvion Johnson to make the score 10-3.
Troy extended the lead in the top of the sixth, however, on a two-RBI single from Lee and an RBI single from Sessions.
Eufaula provided the game’s final runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles from Travion Johnson and Tyler Killingsworth, as well as an RBI groundout from Cochran.
“This game tonight was just unreal,” Stallworth said. “These kids played well beyond their years. I forgot they were 6 and 7-year-olds watching them play out there.”
Eufaula had hits in every inning, but was held scoreless through the first three.
“I’m sure it’s frustrating for these other teams because I’m sure they’re used to scoring runs,” Stallworth said. “They’re used to being able to reach base just about every time they make contact, and we’re just not letting teams do that right now.”
Every player for Troy had a hit, drove in a run or scored a run.
Stallworth led the team, going 2-3 with four RBIs. Jeffery Knotts was 3-3 with two runs scored, Lee was 3-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, Sessions was 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Ledford was 3-4 with an RBI and Prestwood was 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Coby Johnson went 2-3 with two runs scored, Kidd was 2-3 with an RBI, Senn went 1-e with a double and three runs scored and Adrian Cardwell was 2-3.
Stephens was 0-3 with an RBI, while Ben Reeves was 0-3 with a run scored.
Now, Troy will face Enterprise National in today’s championship game at 6 p.m.
Bringing home the title will be a tough task for Troy American however, as it must defeat the undefeated Enterprise team twice in order to win the tournament.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing and focus on one game at a time,” Stallworth said.