Troy Pre-Minors finish second in Regional tourney
In every tournament they played this summer, the Troy Pre-Minors showed perseverance by bouncing back from tough losses to advance further into tournament play.
Troy won a district championship in that fashion, and went on to win the state championship in the same manner.
Tuesday, the team looked to win the Dixie Youth Machine Pitch AA Regional Tournament in North Charleston, SC, after once again rallying from a loss to advance to the championship game.
The circumstances this time were a bit different, as the Pre-Minors has to take on a team that was previously undefeated, meaning Troy would have to win twice in order to take home the title.
And, as it had done so many times before, Troy responded to the challenge in game one, defeating Darlington 5-3 in game one.
Troy’s win helped force a second game, where the winner would take home the Regional championship.
Unfortunately for Troy, a one-run lead slipped away late in the final game, as Troy fell to Darlington 7-4 and finished second in the Regional tournament in the process.
“We had the lead all the way to the end, but it got away from us there at the end,” said Troy head coach Andy Blair. “It was only a one-run lead, and those are hard to keep.”
Troy not only had to win two games in order to bring home the title, but it also had to play a fresher Darlington team that enjoyed a bye during the tournament.
That extra rest for Darlington is something Blair said made a huge difference, especially given the second game’s 1 p.m. start time.
“We shut them out, and we had a lot of energy then, but I think our kids just started to wear out,” Blair said. “When they had to come back and play at 1, they were cramping up, and I think they were just give out. We just ran out of energy there at the end.”
Blair said the mood after the loss was a somber one for the team, but that the experience of playing in the Regional would wind up making the entire team better.
“I told them after the game that this is still going to hurt, and there’s nothing that’s going to take that away but time,” Blair said. “But, once they pull through this, I think it will only make them better in the future.”
Those signs of improvement were already evident, as Troy had shown so much fight and heart in its previous tournament games.
“We’ve gotten better and better as the summer has gone on,” Blair said. “These kids have just matured so much, and there’s nothing in the world I would trade this experience for.”