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Rockdale sweeps Loganville, clinches top seed

CONYERS - Rockdale Post 77 wrapped up its regular season and a No. 1 seed in the North Georgia Area Tournament by sweeping Loganville on Sunday at Henson-Carr Legion Field.

Rockdale rallied to win 6-3 in the opener, before run-ruling Loganville 12-2 in the nightcap.

Josh Stephenson got the win in the first game, scattering five hits and allowing just one earned run in six innings of work. He struck out two batters, walked two and hit one.

Loganville went up 1-0 in the top of the second inning and increased its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third.

However, Rockdale tied it with two runs in the bottom of the third. Kale Blackshear and Chris Jackson both singled. The runners then advanced on a wild pitch. Blackshear later scored on a passed ball, while Marcus Smith plated Jackson on a sacrifice fly.

Loganville regained the lead in the top of the fifth to go ahead 3-2, but Rockdale struck for three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Jason Knight doubled and J.C. Dunagan and Blackshear both walked to load the bases. Jackson was hit by a pitch to plate Knight. Smith then contributed his second and third RBIs of the game with a two-run double. Josh Flippen's RBI single plated Jackson for the last run of the inning, and the game, capping the score at 6-3.

Loganville also jumped out early in the second game, going up 1-0 in the top of the first.

However, Rockdale quickly retaliated with three runs in the bottom half of the inning.

The runs came off a two-run single by Dunagan and a RBI single by Blackshear. Rockdale added another run in the bottom of the second off an RBI double by Jo Jo Bonet.

Up 4-1, Rockdale showed its mettle in the fourth. Loganville loaded the bases with no outs, but could not score. Rockdale opened the flood gates in the bottom half of the inning, scoring seven runs.

Rockdale batted around the order as Smith accounted for two RBI singles in the inning, both of which scored Jackson. Bonet, Joseph Lester, Dunagan, Blackshear and Jackson also notched RBI singles in the seven-run fourth.

Loganville added one run in the top of the fifth, but Rockdale evoked the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth off an RBI single by Knight, making the final tally 12-2.

Clark Dickinson got the win on the mound. He allowed two earned runs in five innings of work. He struck out three and walked two.

"They played well. They made a few errors in the first game, but overall, both games were real good," Rockdale Post 77 manager Jack Murphy said. "We came back from a deficit in the first game, and we faced what I thought were their two best pitchers that game. We were able to do what we've done all year - take advantage of what the other team gives us. We don't always hit the ball that well, so we've got to have good pitching and play good defense.

"The second game was a little different. Once we got them out after Loganville loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, it totally sucked the wind out of their sails. It picked our guys up. We were able to put together some walks with timely hitting and put some runs on the board. That inning kind of put the game away."

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