The Troup softball team experienced a measure of disbelief after sweeping Woodville and advancing past the regional quarterfinals last weekend.
No other team in program history had ever accomplished such a thing. Few on the squad — with only two seniors on the roster — could believe how fast the success has arrived.
“They looked like a deer in the headlights,” third-year coach Samantha Darr said. “They were like ‘Did we really just win that?’”
Yes, the No. 9 Lady Tigers (30-6) did win the game and next meet fourth-ranked Linden-Kildare in the 2A Region III semifinals this weekend at Marshall High School. The opening game of the best-of-three series is set for 4 p.m. Friday.
Troup will enter the series as the first team in program history to go unbeaten in district, win an outright league title and win 30 games.
The Lady Tigers’ pitching staff consists of two freshmen and three starting infielders are also in their first year of high school. That means the best might still be ahead for Troup, which has produced throughout the lineup all season.
Darr said more talent is on the way.
“The softball program is only going to get better from here on out,” Darr said. “We are only going to be losing two seniors this year and I’ve got several eighth graders coming up that will contribute to the success as well. The Troup softball program is going to be going for the next eight years.”
Junior Katelyn Standley has been an offensive machine this season, batting .602 with five home runs and 49 RBIs and 49 runs scored.
Josee Ross went 10-0 with a 1.43 ERA in district on the mound, plus bats .352 with 27 RBIs at the plate. Lee Ann Lloyd finished 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA, plus bats .352 and has 29 RBIs.
The other top hitters include sophomore Caitlin Tomlin (.337, 25 RBIs), freshman Miranda Flora (.310, 22 RBIs) and senior Taylor Martin (.272, 20 RBIs).
Sophomore Bethany Mason has scored 44 runs.
The rest of the roster includes senior Shelby Adkins, juniors Ronni Boyer and Summer Brown, sophomores Cheyenne Kirkland and Victoria Newman, and freshmen McKenzie Hugghins and Amandra Trahan.
“We have had great hitting one through nine in our lineup,” Darr said. “The bottom of our lineup is just as reliable as the top of our lineup. It doesn’t matter what part of our lineup we are in; the girls will do exactly what they need to put the ball in play and get our runners in.”
The winner between Troup and Linden-Kildare will advance to meet the winner between No. 6 Nacogdoches Central Heights and seventh-ranked Mineola in the regional final.