Eliminated: Troy Ozone team’s quest for World Series title ends after loss to Georgia Monday evening
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The Troy Ozone team’s quest for a World Series title may be over, but with district and state titles in hand the team has plenty of reasons to be proud, coaches said.
The Troy Ozone fell to Georgia 7-4 on Monday, its second loss in the Dixie Ozone World Series in Lexington, S.C. The Troy team had opened the tournament with an 18-5 win over Virginia but then lost to Florida 5-3.
“We got a lot of experience and we got better,” said head coach David Nelson, “It wasn’t just about going and winning the World Series, it was about getting better. We came together as a team and learned all things we could in the game of baseball that can help you later in life.”
The team received tremendous support from the Troy community, something that was noticed and appreciated by the players, coaches and parents.
“Troy is a baseball town and from the very beginning they have supported us,” Nelson said. “We started in district and got past Enterprise, which was a big goal for us. We headed for state and we started to hear from everybody that they were following us. The publicity you get from Troy is huge. It feels good to know you have all that support. The kids and the coaches really appreciate it.”
The mantra all season long for Nelson and the Ozone team was to “never give up.” That mantra was put to the test consistently. After winding their way through the district tournament with an undefeated record, Troy fell in the state tournament to Tuscumbia.
“It wasn’t until I saw them lose their first game at state, that I saw the determination and perseverance of those kids,” Nelson said. “They came together as a team the rest of the way through state and we got to the World Series.”
The Ozone team traveled to Lexington for the World Series as a team not expecting to lose. But even after falling to Florida, Troy came back out and competed the entire game against Georgia.
“It made the Georgia game a lot more enjoyable. It was a great game win or lose,” Nelson said. “It was a much better experience against Georgia because they played as a team and believed the whole time they were going to win.”
The team started back in late May and were forced to gel as one team from the very beginning to become successful. Nelson believes the talent has always been there, they just needed to put it on display.
“It’s not that they didn’t have the talent at the beginning, because they did, but when you get out there and work hard and practice six days a week you get all the reps in and it fine tunes and pulls all the talent out. We got really hot during the state tournament and hit the ball really well. We didn’t hit the ball as well in the World Series, but I think that’s an indication of a higher level of competition.”
Nelson expects his players to remember more than the final outcome in South Carolina.
“Winning district and going on to win state is an accomplishment all in itself,” Nelson said. “There are a lot of people that don’t get to experience going to a World Series. It is a fun experience; there isn’t anything like it. A lot of them learned that putting in the work and believing in each other means they could do anything. I hope they take that work ethic and drive to be a leader on to higher levels of baseball.”