Troup softball team in midst of summer workouts
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Coming off a historic season, the Troup High softball team is looking for bigger and better things this fall.
The 2020 season was a memorable one for the Lady Tigers, who finished second in Region 2-AAAA before winning a state-playoff series for the first time in the history of the program.
With a new season less than two months away, the Lady Tigers are getting after it this summer.
The players get together for workouts at the school under the tutelage of the coaches, including second-year head coach Ryan Simpson.
Olivia Wolfe, who is in her fifth season as an assistant coach, believes the 2021 season could be another special one for a program on the rise.
“We’ve got a good group here,” said Wolfe, who has worked with three different head coaches at Troup. “I think we only lost two or three. We’ve got a lot of good returners, and some other girls coming up in ninth grade that we expect some big things out of them.”
A year ago, the Lady Tigers were just getting their summer program started, and things were a lot different because of COVID-19.
The team was not only dealing with the restrictions put in place, but It was also adjusting to a new head coach.
Simpson, who was a standout pitcher for the Point University softball team, took over the program following the departure of Kayla Yeargin.
Flash forward a year, and Simpson is now settled in as a second-year head coach, and everything is back to normal this summer following a difficult 2020.
“I think (Simpson is) more at ease, because she knows us better,” Wolfe said. “Everything’s flowing. We’re having great communication. There are things we see with each other that we can help with. We’ll ask, did you see something here? We can help them become better players.”
It was a fun ride in 2020 for the Lady Tigers.
After finishing second in the region during the regular season, Troup fell to Shaw in the opening round of the region tournament.
Troup bounced back for three straight wins before losing to LaGrange in the region-championship game.
Troup beat New Hampstead at home in the first round of the state playoffs before losing to West Laurens in the second round.
Most of the players who helped the Lady Tigers enjoy that success have returned, and they’ve been getting together at the softball field three days a week.
“They’re here from 8 to 11,” Wolfe said. “That’s three hours, and we’re trying to get a lot of work in. We’ve really got a good group of girls here, and hopefully some positive things come out of all the hard work we’ve put in.”
Many of the players are also participating in travel softball, so they’re splitting their time between two teams.
“They are constantly working,” Wolfe said. “I think we’ve got quite a few girls that come here in the morning, and they get a little bit of a break, and they’ve got practice later. So that’s a big commitment.”