Troy downs Oxford 6-4 in Game 3, heads to World Series

Published 7:35 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

Members of the state championship team are: Nathan Braisted, Adrian Cardwell, DeAndrey Henderson, Brady Huner, Press Jefcoat, Skylar Kidd, Darryl Lee, Drew Nelson, Noah Prestwood, Ben Reeves, Laquavin Rodgers, and Bailey Sparrow.

ENTERPRISE – It was a fitting end to Troy’s Dixie AA State tournament run. It took Troy nine games. Nine games jam packed full of thrill, heartbreak, and pressure. Following a thrilling double play, Troy laid claim to the state champions crown with a 6-4 victory Oxford in Game 3 of the championship series.

“Their hard work paid off,” David Nelson said. “We put a lot on them and expected a lot from them. We want the very best from them and they understand why we work so hard.”

Troy made an impressive run to the championship. After falling 2-0 to AUM Green in the opening game of double-elimination bracket play. Troy then moved to the losers bracket where they crushed Daphne (16-3) and AUM Gold (16-1). The state champs got their revenge on AUM Green with an 8-5 victory and moved into the championship game needing to beat Hueytown twice. Troy accomplished just that with 9-2 and 12-10 conquests.

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With a clean slate, Troy and Oxford split the Wednesday doubleheader of the best-of-three championship series. Troy won the first game effortlessly 14-3 but fell in Game 2 8-7. The series would move to a final deciding game.

Troy jumped out front early. In the second inning of Thursday’s Game 3, Ben Reeves reached base to lead off then advanced on Skylar Kidd’s single. Adrian Cardwell drove them both in with a two-out double. DeAndrey Henderson followed with a single to score Cardwell and increase Troy’s lead to 3-0.

Oxford tied things up in the fourth with three runs on four hits but a strong throw from Drew Nelson in center field gunned down a runner attempting to advance to third to end the threat.

Oxford claimed the lead in the fifth with a single run but would not hold it for long. Troy regained its advantage in the bottom half. Bailey Sparrow reached base on a fielder’s choice and was followed by consecutive singles from Cardwell and Henderson. Noah Prestwood would single home a run to give Troy a 6-4 lead that would hold to give them the state title.

“I’m thankful to all the guys for giving me the opportunity to be a part of each kid’s life,” Nelson said after the game. “God has blessed each one of them with the special ability to play baseball and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Nate Braisted and Laquavin Rodgers also had hits for Troy. Cardwell and Henderson were both 2-for-2 on the day.

Nelson also thanked his assistants for their hard work and dedication, Chris Huner, James Sparrow, Rock Braisted, Billy Jefcoat, and Josh Prestwood. Nelson expressed gratitude to all of the parents and supporters as well.

Troy will now head to Hartselle for the Dixie AA Region II World Series on July 20-24. This will be the final stop for the team in postseason.