CHAMPIONS: Dixie Boy’s Rookie team comes home having earned District 9 Championship in five straight

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 26, 2015

The Troy Dixie Minor Rookies won two games Wednesday night to win the District-9 Tournament Championship. They will play in the State Tournament in Oxford July 10. MESSENGER PHOTO/DAN SMITH

The Troy Dixie Minor Rookies won two games Wednesday night to win the District-9 Tournament Championship. They will play in the State Tournament in Oxford July 10.

One loss away from elimination, the Dixie Boy’s Rookie team was faced with winning the next five games to win the District 9 championship in Eufaula. It took five wins, but the Rookies secured that championship Wednesday evening after defeating Greenville.

Heading into the evening Troy had to beat Greenville not just once but twice. Troy was up to the task winning both games 17-4 in five innings; in the second game of the double-header Troy clinched the District Championship by once again beating Greenville 20-3 in three innings.

In game one, Mario Davenport took the mound for Troy and really gave them the start they needed to get the victory. Davenport pitched the entire game scattering just five hits while letting up just the four runs.

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The theme of the night was Troy’s ability to not only get on base but their ability to drive those runners in.

Davenport hit a two-run homerun in game one to get Troy headed in the right direction, the game was tight at that time and Davenport gave Troy a little bit more separation.

In game two, Bradley Prestwood got the start and backed up the stellar start from Davenport in game one.

Prestwood let up three runs early and shut the door from there. Leading to the troy win.

It was the third time during the tournament that Troy played Enterprise. After Enterprise won game one, edging Troy 10-9, Troy flexed their offensive muscles, outscoring Enterprise 37-7 in their next two meetings.

“It was a great effort by my guys,” said head coach Chris Goshea. “Enterprise is a good team, they beat us previously, but we had a chance in the double-header tonight for the District Championship, and we came out victorious.”

The success and resilience was on display over the last week, and Goshea took notice when his team won five straight games.

“I saw them mature,” Goshea said. “We had to battle our way out of the losers bracket. They had their heads down after that first loss but I told them one loss doesn’t mean we are out of it. They guys started playing together and gelling as one team. It was great to see.”

Of the few errors the team made down the stretch, Goshea said his team learned to move on to the next pitch and next play despite making mistakes.

“It was a maturation process,” Goshea said. “It was great to see. It was like watching a small version of a major league team. They played that well.”

After that first loss on Friday, Troy battled back and played five straight nights, including the two games on Wednesday.

Troy will now start preparing for the State Tournament that is set to begin July 10 in Oxford, Ala.

Goshea will continue to work with his team leading up to the tournament, practicing on hitting and good fundamental baseball.

“We are going to work on pitching,” Goshea said. “We need to throw more strikes consistently. Our outfield needs to work a little bit on their mechanics as well.”

You can’t score runs without being able to hit, and Goshea said Troy would continue to spend time in the batting cage to prepare for a step up in completion that is sure to come at State.

“We are going to stay in the batting cage and work on our hitting,” Goshea said. “Even when we made errors, our explosiveness with the bats made up for it. We were able to shield and cover our mistakes.”

Troy will enter the State tournament with momentum on their side. After winning the five games in a row, they will be playing with confidence.

“After the game last night, they were ready to play in the State Tournament today,” Goshea said. “They now know that even though we lose a game we are not defeated. Through the imperfection, it taught me and my guys to rely on what works.”

The State Tournament will begin for Troy on July 10. The bracket for Troy has not yet been released.