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Rockdale sent home from state

COCHRAN - Rockdale Post 77 made an early exit in the American Legion Baseball State Tournament, losing its first two games to Leesburg and Gainesville.

Despite the early exit, Rockdale Post 77 coach Jack Murphy said he can't discredit his team for their efforts.

"This is not a bad deal," Murphy said. "We didn't play our best down here, so we didn't show what we're capable of. We were a little tired, and you could tell. We didn't have that crispness that you need, but that's my fault. We didn't have the full roster that you need to get through these things. We'll work on that. Still, for a first year team, we won our area, finished second in two tournaments and made it to state."

Rockdale stumbled in the first round of the state tourney, getting run-ruled in eight innings by Leesburg on Thursday at Middle Georgia College.

Things didn't go much better Friday as the offense came to a screeching halt. Both teams scored all of their runs in the first inning. The only problem was that Rockdale scored one and Gainesville scored six.

Jo Jo Bonet provided Rockdale's only RBI of the contest, plating Jeremy Reihn who doubled in the top of the first. Gainesville then scored six in the bottom half of the inning to cap the game scoring.

Things also started out well for Rockdale against Leesburg, but the tide turned quickly.

Rockdale jumped out to a 2-0 lead in its first at-bat, when Reihn's two-run double played Marcus Smith and Bonet. However, Leesburg took a 3-2 the lead in the top of the second inning.

Rockdale regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth off a solo homer by Bonet and an RBI grounder by J.C. Dunagan.

But Rockdale's 4-3 lead didn't last.

Leesburg scored three runs in the top of the fifth, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and three more in the eighth to bring on the mercy rule.

"We just looked like a very tired team. I think we had a hangover from Monday," Murphy said. "We looked like we were a step and a half behind everything. We made errors we don't normally make. We were flat footed in the outfield. We just had a bad game. We didn't get good pitching, we were tired and we ran out of gas."

Rockdale played five games in the North Georgia Area Tournament, which used up most of the team's pitching, Murphy said.

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans @rockdalecitizen.com.