CANTON - Both Post 77 baseball squads hit the field Thursday in the first round of the North Georgia Area Tournament, and with mixed results.
Rockdale Post 77 shut out Alpharetta 6-0, while Conyers Post 77 dropped a 12-8 decision to Dawsonville.
Facing elimination, Conyers rebounded Friday by run-ruling Canton 10-0 in seven innings. Rockdale also played on Friday against Gainesville, but results were not available at press time.
Conyers faces the loser of the Rockdale-Gainesville game at 1 p.m. today in another elimination game.
Against Alpharetta, Rockdale received three solid pitching efforts from Jo Jo Bonet, J.C. Dunagan and Chris Boyd. Bonet got the start on the mound. He allowed three hits in five innings of work, while striking out two batters. Dunagan pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, allowing two hits and striking out four. Boyd pitched the ninth, allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one.
"We did well," Rockdale manager Jack Murphy said. "Our pitchers were on."
Rockdale went up 1-0 in the bottom of the second off an RBI single by Chris Jackson. Jeremy Reihn made it 2-0 in the bottom of the third when his fielder's choice plated Josh Flippen.
Flippen's RBI single the next inning put Rockdale up 3-0. Reihn accounted for the next run with a solo homer in the fifth. Rockdale added its final two runs of the game in the seventh off a solo homer by Nathan Fawbush and an RBI double by Reihn.
"Alpharetta's pitchers did a real good job of keeping us off-balance, but scratched out some hits," Murphy said.
Meanwhile, Conyers fell behind early in its game against Dawsonville and never recovered.
Even though Conyers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first off a two-run single by Travis Tarleton, Dawsonville scored nine runs over the first four innings to take a 9-2 lead.
Conyers closed the gap in the sixth, scoring two runs off singles by Ryan Jubran and Nick Matteen, coupled with a pair of Dawsonville errors. However, Dawsonville added another run in the bottom half of the inning to go up 10-4.
Patrick Jansen scored on an error in the top of the seventh, and his fielder's choice RBI made it 10-7 in the eighth. But Dawsonville added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Conyers' last two runs came in the top of the ninth off an RBI single by Tyler Austin.
Conyers manager Eddie Bagwell said his team had a tough time overcoming the early deficit.
"We put ourselves in a hole, and I take full responsibility for that," Bagwell said. "We also left 10 guys stranded on base, and that hurt, too."
Things got much better for Conyers on Friday as the team made quick work of host Canton.
Kelvan Diaz led the way with a masterful pitching performance. Diaz faced the minimum number of batters through three innings and struck out the first six batters he faced. He pitched all seven innings, allowed just two hits, struck out nine batters and walked two.
Conyers took the early offensive against Canton, scoring six runs in the bottom of the second inning. The runs came off an RBI double by Jubran, an RBI single by Matteen, an error, a two-run single by Taylor Lamb and an RBI single by Travis Tarleton.
Conyers added three more runs in the third off an RBI double by Dyer and a two-run homer by Austin. Conyers made it 10-0 in the bottom of the sixth off an RBI single by Cameron Gibson.
"We scored early and often, which the players more relaxed," Bagwell said. "We challenged the guys before the game. They knew it was win or go home."
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.