In a pitcher's duel, a lot of times its the little things that make a difference. Unfortunately for Rockdale on Wednesday, all the little things went the opponent's way.
Loganville right-hander Casey Shiver pitched six innings of three-hit ball and the Bulldogs ran themselves out of two potential run-scoring innings in a 2-1 loss to the defending Class AAAA state champions.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, Zach Mathis drew a walk to load the bases, but pinch-runner Terrence Hutcherson apparently lost track of the base runners and began to jog home. Loganville catcher Jacob Johnson fired to third baseman Landon Hayes, who applied the tag to end the inning. After Heath Holder's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth put Loganville up 2-1, Ryan Conner was picked off first base, all but ending the Bulldogs' final threat.
"I had just gotten it out of my mouth, 'bases loaded, you're the potential tying run; stay put,' he goes jogging off third base," Rockdale coach Casey Martin said of Hutcherson's mental error that ended the sixth inning. "You can't expect to win games when you do things like that."
Logan scored first without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the second inning. Beau Mixon went to third on a wild pitch and raced home when Rockdale catcher Kevin Daukins' throw sailed into left field for a 1-0 Loganville lead.
Shiver had a perfect game through 31/3 innings until Chris Sheridan singled with two outs in the fourth. Buck Farmer followed with a walk and Chris Robuck had an infield single to load the bases. Shiver's balk scored Sheridan to tie the game at 1-1, but the right-hander struck out J.T. Shaw to end the threat.
Farmer matched Shiver nearly pitch for pitch and finished his six innings of work allowing just five hits and striking out seven. "Hats off to Loganville. Their guy pitched a good game," Martin said.
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.