O-Zone Rookies down Crenshaw County to win district title

Published 6:36 pm Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Troy O-Zone Rookies didn’t leave the ballpark until 12:26 a.m. Wednesday morning, but they left a winner.

Troy braved a weather delay and an upset-minded Crenshaw County team Tuesday night to advance to the State Tournament with a wild 15-14 win in Luverne.

After falling to Crenshaw 11-9 in the first game of the day, Troy fell behind 7-0 in the first inning of the winner-take-all rubber match.

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“We never led at all during the first game, and didn’t lead until late in the second game,” Troy coach Brett Stallworth said. “We finally decided to play ball late in the second game, and we were able to dig out of that hole.”

The Crenshaw lead grew to 9-3, but Troy head coach Brett Stallworth felt his team would not give in.

“We kept telling them to keep chipping away at it, and things would start happening for us,” Stallworth said. “We were able to get a run here, an two runs there and before you know it, we were right back in the ball game.”

Troy fought back to grab the lead late, and was able to hold on to a wild 15-14 win.

As the players ran to center of the field to accept their championship trophy, Stallworth said he stood back and just soaked it all in.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way the persevered Tuesday,” Stallworth said. “It wasn’t our prettiest game by any means, but they never quit and found a way to win it. We keep telling them to keep battling and chipping away, and good things would happen.”

With the win, Troy advances to the state tournament in Muscle Shoals July 5-12.

The Troy O-Zone Rookie team won the state tournament last season, and Stallworth hopes his team can do the same this go around.

“We are going to have to play much better than we did in Luverne if we want to win state,” Stallworth said. “But if we play our game, and don’t get caught up in other things, we should be OK. There will be a lot of familiar faces in that area that week, and we want to win it for Troy.”