Two wins away

Published 11:14 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Troy Dixie Boys find themselves in a familiar position once again, as the team is just two wins away from returning to the state tournament.

Troy defeated Ashford 10-1 in Eufaula Wednesday in a matchup of the only two undefeated teams left in the district tournament.

Much like Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Geneva, Troy used an outstanding pitching performance from its starting pitcher to pick up the win.

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While Blake Craft was the dominant man on the mound for Troy Tuesday, it was John Johnson’s turn to baffle opposing hitters Wednesday.

Johnson pitched five innings, giving up just one run.

“John Johnson was really fantastic on the mound for us tonight,” said head coach Sam Kitchens. “He didn’t allow them many hits tonight, and that was big.”

Johnson was backed up by an explosive Troy offense that got a pair of three-run home runs from Kenyatta Jones and Blake Craft.

Jones went deep in the third inning, and Craft came right back in the fourth with another three-run bomb for the Trojans.

Troy never trailed in the game, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single from Morgan Shaver.

Shaver’s single was a line drive that deflected off of the Ashford pitcher’s arm, enabling the run to score.

In addition to the great offense, Troy had a nearly perfect defensive performance.

“We had some great defense tonight,” Kitchens said. ‘We had one ball that we misplayed in the outfield, which was a line drive that probably should have been caught, but other than that, we didn’t have another defensive error.”

Ashford threatened in the fifth inning by putting runners on first and second with nobody out against Johnson, but Kitchens turned to late-game specialist John Michael Stephens to get out off the inning unscathed.

“John Michael did another outstanding job for us, but he’s been doing that all tournament season long,” Kitchens said. “He’s just been fantastic.”

Stephens went on to pitch the final two innings for Troy, holding Ashford scoreless to seal the win.

Jones and Craft both finished with two hits. Jones had a single, a run scored and his three-run homer, while Craft had a three-run homer and a double.

Taylor Lord and Johnson also added two hits each for Troy.

Now, Troy finds itself just two wins away from a district title. It has the chance to get the first of those two wins tonight at 8 p.m. against Eufaula.

“We’re glad to win, obviously,” Kitchens said. “Hopefully we can just carry this over and bring it back Thursday against Eufaula.”