After a tough loss to Auburn Blue on Sunday, the Troy Americans found itself on the brink of elimination Monday night at the State Tournament.
The team standing in Troy’s way was Underwood who, like Troy, was facing the same scenario thanks to a loss on Sunday night.
However, when it was all said and done, it was the team-playing host to the tournament that lived to see another day.
Thanks to an early offensive outburst, strong pitching and a late-inning single, Troy found a way, knocking off Underwood, 6-5.
The big difference in the game was Dawson Hamlin, who had a big night at the plate on the mound for the home team.
Hamlin finished 3-3 at the plate, with a double, a triple and two RBIs, including the eventually game winner in the bottom of the fifth.
As the starter, Hamlin pitched a complete game, striking out eight while surrendering five runs, one of which was unearned, off eight hits.
“No doubt, Dawson was huge for us (Monday night),” head coach Frank Scarbrough said after the win. “But this is as unselfish of a team as you are every going to see.”
“The 12 players on this team win and lose together and after two games where the nerves were showing, we got back to how we play baseball,” the coach added.
While, Underwood was able to take an early 2-0 lead after the to half of the first inning, the Troy answered right back as the offense got started right out of the gate, as the first seven batters reached base.
Reed Jinright and Garrett Tucker both reach with singles, while Lawson Scarbrough reached on a walk.
Hamlin, had an RBI-double, bringing home Tucker, while both Wood Jinright and Noah Lowery had RBI-singles, bringing home Scarbrough and Hamlin.
Spenser Floyd would give Troy its fourth run of the inning with a RBI-double, bringing home Wood Jinright.
“That’s what we have been used to,” Scarbrough said about his team’s offensive in the first inning. “We came into this tournament hitting the ball really well, and we were able to get back to that right away – which made a big difference.”
Both team would add another run in the second inning, to make it 5-3 in Troy’s favor as Brian Redmon would bring Cole Little home with an RBI-double.
Underwood would not go down quietly though.
In the top of the third inning, the visiting team would tie the game up with two runs.
The score would remain tied until the bottom of the fifth inning.
After Reed Jinright reached base thanks to a walk, and advanced to third base thanks to a steal and sacrifice, Hamlin again stepped up to the plate, and like he had done before, delivered for his team, hitting a single up the middle to bring home the winning run.
In the top of the sixth, after striking the first two batters out, Hamlin gave up a two-out single.
With the tying run on first base, and facing a 3-2 count, Hamlin struck out Underwood’s Jacob Blasingame to finish off the win and send Troy to Tuesday’s action.
“The kids had to come to the realization that they could win,” Scarbrough said. “Their biggest enemy is always themselves but everyone in our dugout knew we were going to win that game.
“Everyone was focused – there was no doubt,” he said.
Troy will now face Dothan Southern, a team that it defeated twice last week in two exhibition games, tonight at 6 p.m.
“We did a great job at the plate (Monday night),” Scarbrough said.
“I thought we did a great job of working the count and staying disciplined (at the plate).
“We did a really good job of making good contact and most importantly, staying focused,” the coach added.
At the plate for Troy, Reed Jinright finished 1-2 with a walk and a run scored, while his brother, Wood, finished 1-3 with an RBU, a run scored and a walk.
Lowery finished 1-1 with an RBI and a walk, while Floyd 1-2 with a double and an RBI.
Cole Little finished 2-2 with a doubel and a single and Redmon finished 1-1 with a double and a RBI.