Ponytails head to Underwood for state tournament

Published 6:19 pm Thursday, July 11, 2019

It’s been just over two weeks since the Troy Ponytails hoisted the district championship at the Troy Sportsplex. Now they are ready to hoist their second trophy of the summer when they compete in the Ponytail State Tournament in Underwood.

Keeping it simple – that has been the mantra for head coach Jimmy Sellers since winning district. He has kept practice familiar and light.

“We are doing what we did to prepare for district,” Sellers said. “We are keeping it simple. We have done batting practice, fielding and pitching. We didn’t want to add anything to practice because we didn’t want to confuse them.”

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Troy started the tournament 1-1 after they lost their first game on Saturday but then battled back to not only clinch a spot in the state tournament, but to win the entire tournament.

“To lose the first game on Saturday and win out, it showed me the girls have a lot of fight in them,” Sellers said. “They could have easily just been happy with playing in the tournament, but they showed me their grit and that they wanted play well and win the tournament.”

With the state tournament adding to the competitiveness and talent level, the lesson learned at the district tournament could prove to be valuable this time around.

“It’s very important,” Sellers said. “For them to see that no matter what happens, as long as we believe in one another, as long as they play for each other, good things can happen.”

Kyla Wilkerson took up the mantle of being Troy’s top pitcher during the district tournament. After running out of innings late in the tournament, key pitchers including Alissa Barron and Tera Walker pitched Troy to the championship. All three pitchers will once again be relied on to get valuable outs in Underwood.

“Going into the state, what I learned about the pitching staff is that they can pitch as well as anyone,” Sellers said. “Alissa Barron and Tera Walker came in and did phenomenal jobs every time we asked them to go in. That’s what we are looking for at state. All I ask is for them to come in and throw strikes and let the defense work behind you.”

On the offensive side, Sellers hopes to see production from all 12 batters in the lineup.

“It’s very important,” Sellers said. “We have been blessed as coaches to have 12 girls that we can spread out. Sometimes down in the lineup you don’t see as good hitting, but our 12 have done phenomenal.”

Troy will take about a two-hour trip north to Underwood. Sellers and the players are looking for a fun, but productive trip.

“It will be a good experience for them,” Sellers said. “The challenge for them is making sure they know they are there for a purpose and not just to have fun. I want them to have fun, but we are going for a purpose.”

Troy will open up their tournament on Saturday morning against Central beginning at 11 a.m.