Valiant effort: Troy comes up short in World Series

Published 8:11 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

The Troy 6U baseball team came up one win shy of winning a World Series Championship on Sunday. They fell to Sweetwater (Tennessee) 11-8 in Brookhaven, Mississippi, giving them a second-place finish.

Once tied 3-3, Troy entered the final inning trailing by four runs. They trimmed it down to three, but couldn’t inch any closer.

“There were a couple close plays that didn’t go our way,” said head coach Scott Ross. “We let those close plays and errors really hurt us.”

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Troy entered the final inning trailing 11-4. They battled back to score four runs in their last at-bat before committing the final out.

“It would have been easy for the kids to just give up,” Ross said. “They knew they still had a chance. They kept playing hard. I feel like if we would have played Stillwater 10 times they would win half and we would win half.”

Sunday’s game was a culmination of what was a fun and exciting spring and summer of baseball.

“If I would have known in February that we were going to finish up as runner-up in the World Series I would take it,” Ross said. “I hate we lost the game, but when you watch the kids play, it wasn’t obvious that there was another team better than us. I would say the future of Troy baseball is very positive.”

After knocking off both Hattiesburg and Searcy on day one of the tournament on Friday, Troy picked up a win against Kosciusko (Ms.) on Saturday, sending them to the single-elimination portion of the tournament.

They began Sunday with a 12-4 win over Columbia and then knocked off Hueytown 5-2, sending them to the championship round.

“I was really proud of how the kids played on that stage,” Ross said. “We probably didn’t hit our best, but I feel like our kids as the tournament went on got tired. It seemed like we got tired near the end and we weren’t swinging the bats as good as we had.”

Despite the lack of offense at times, Troy’s defense played a pivotal role in their success. In Troy’s previous three wins, they allowed just seven total runs.

“We played great defense that won us a couple of games,” Ross said. “I am really proud of the kids and how they competed.”

The big stage was a concern for Ross heading into the tournament, but as it went on, it became clear that his players never let it get too big.

“There were hundreds of kids there, but our kids were focused. When they stepped on the field they were ready to play. They made some great plays and it was obvious, not just to our fans or coaches, of how good they were playing. We had several comments from fans and coaches of other teams talking about how good our kids played.”

All the players on the roster will move up to the 8U league next season. During the World Series, they got a taste of how the game will be played at that level.

“We played at 60-foot basepaths and the pitcher threw from 36 feet,” Ross said. “It was almost like it was a good transition for them. Next year they will be playing with 60-foot bases and I think the pitcher throws from 43 feet. It was good practice and good transition for a lot of them.”

Troy is coached by Scott Ross, Trey Houlton, Henry Gutierrez and Matt Brown. Players include Zane Brookins, Coggins Brown, Cole Cleveland, Elliott Cochran, Jaylin Copeland, Ethan Ernsberger, Alex Gutierrez, Noah Houlton, Barrett Powell, Parker Precise, Judson Ross and Brooks Wallace.