Pitchers' duels
Conyers, Rockdale split doubleheader

CONYERS - Offense was certainly not on the menu Thursday night at Henson-Carr Legion Field as Conyers Post 77 and Rockdale Post 77 split a doubleheader in the first two meetings of the two teams.

In the opener, Conyers rode the strong pitching of Kelvan Diaz to a 1-0 win.

The nightcap featured a few more offensive fireworks as Rockdale captured a 3-1 win.

With the split, Rockdale remains in first place in the North Georgia Area standings with a 6-2 record. Conyers is still close behind with a 7-3 area mark.

The two teams play again Sunday at Legion Field in another doubleheader.

In the first game of the twin bill, Conyers scored the only run it needed in the bottom of the sixth inning off an RBI double by Jake Dyer, scoring Jared Trust.

Diaz did the rest, keeping Rockdale's bats on ice for seven straight innings. Diaz allowed just three hits, fanned five batters and walked only one.

"Diaz pitched extremely well the whole game," Conyers manager Eddie Bagwell said. "We were a little short-handed, so that's exactly what we needed. We had to have our pitchers step up."

On the other side, Rockdale's Clark Dickinson was anything but shabby, allowing just four hits and one earned run. He also struck out three batters.

In the second game, Rockdale took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning. Jo Jo Bonet doubled and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Joseph Lester. Bonet later scored on an error.

However, Conyers tied it up in the top of the fourth off an RBI single by Taylor Lamb. The single scored Dyer, who first got on with a single. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chunk Smith.

In the fourth, Rockdale retook the lead off an RBI groundout by Chris Jackson. The groundout scored Kale Blackshear, who first got on with a single and advanced to second on an error. A single by Chris Boyd moved him to third.

Rockdale padded its lead in the bottom of the fifth off an RBI single by Lester. Nathan Fawbush first got on with a two-out single and Bonet's double put runners on second and third for Lester.

J.C. Dunagan got the win on the mound after pitching scoreless baseball in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He allowed three hits and struck out three. Conyers' Clint Ogle wasn't bad in a losing effort. Ogle pitched six innings, struck out two and allowed two earned runs.

"Good pitching will beat good hitting," Rockdale manager Jack Murphy said. "We're not the strongest hitting team, so we're going to have to rely on pitching and defense."

Rockdale turned five double plays on the night.

With the split, both team sstill control their own destiny, making Sunday's rematch crucial for both teams.

Rockdale (12-5 overall, 6-2 North Georgia Area) plays again today at Douglasville. Conyers (10-8, 7-3) is idle until Sunday. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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