Published 3:30 am Friday, January 1, 2016
Everyone is accustomed to success when it comes to baseball and softball at the recreation level in Troy. In 2015 that level of success hit an all time high. The Troy Belles softball team along with the Troy Machine Pitch and Ozone teams won at both the district and state level to advance to the World Series.
For the Belles, 2015 marked the third season in a row they competed in the World Series. The Belles outscored their opponents 105-10 in both the sub-district and district tournament.
The Belles steamrolled their way through the state tournament in Enterprise and defeated Underwood as they stamped their ticket to the World Series.
“It is very exciting to go for the third year in a row with mainly the same group,” player Sidney Armstrong said after winning district. “All of these are memories that we have to take in forever.”
The Belles drew a first-round bye in the World Series, but fell to South Carolina 12-9 in the second round, ending a successful season. “All the hard work the girls have put in this is something we will take away from this,” said head coach Larry Sanders. “During these trips we have been able to make a lot of memories with these girls.”
The Troy Ozone team shared similar success in 2015. Led by head coach David Nelson, the team battled heir way through the loser’s bracket in the state tournament. After losing to Tuscumbia, Troy defeated Thomasville, Opelika and Selma Road to give the opportunity to take on Decatur American for the championship. In a strong pitching matchup Troy defeated Decatur 4-0.
“When we lost you could tell the determination in a lot of the players,” Nelson said after the tournament. “We saw the determination in them that said we weren’t going home.”
Troy fell to Georgia ending their hopes of winning a World Series title, but with a district and state title coaches were still proud of the season.
“We got a lot of experience, and we got better,” Nelson said. “It wasn’t just about going and winning the World Series, it was about getting better.”
The third team advance to the World Series was the Troy Machine Pitch team. Of the three teams to make it to the highest level, it was the machine pitch team that came the closest to grabbing the trophy.
The machine pitch entered their World Series run in South Carolina with a 10-1 record, with three of those wins coming from walk-off hits.
The biggest play came in the state championship in Daphne. Troy was down by five runs and had started a comeback. With runners on base Cade Edwards smacked a bases-clearing triple to give Troy the state title and a berth in the World Series.
“This team just never gets rattled,” said head coach Adam Brookins after the state tournament. “No matter what happens at any point of the game, the kids never stop trying.”
Troy’s momentum carried over to South Carolina where they advanced to the final four after going undefeated in pool play.
Troy matched up with host South Carolina and their 13-game winning streak came to end.
“It really is like they say, all good things must come to an end,” Brookins said following the team’s loss. “We came out ready to play, but we were a little flat and it didn’t work out how we hoped it would.”
Baseball and softball was not the only sport that saw success in 2015, the 18U FC Troy Arsenal soccer team wrapped up its eighth straight state title after winning a tie breaker over both Opelika and Prattville to claim the title.
“These kids really stuck with it and never gave up,” said Troy head coach Doug McLendon. “They stuck with me and they didn’t lose faith in me. It’s really gratifying to get them a championship.”