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Offensive funk doomed Conyers in regional
Post 77 hit just .214 in tournament

CONYERS - Just 17 days ago, Conyers was polishing off a Georgia American Legion state championship, scoring 13 runs in a mercy-rule rout of Douglasville.

Now, Post 77 is left wishing it had saved a few of those runs.

The offensive struggles - nine runs scored and a .214 average in four Southeast Regional Tournament games - began almost immediately.

In the opening win over Chapin (S.C.) Post 193, Conyers left a runner in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings, and left six in scoring position for the game.

In the win over Bayamon (Puerto Rico) Post 48, Conyers left 10 on base and five in scoring position.

Thankfully, the bats were bailed out in both games by Anthony Bazzani and Kelvan Diaz, who each pitched a complete-game shutout.

Brandon Thomas pitched well enough in the loss to Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Post 34, but the offense didn't get going until Travis Tarleton's two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth tied the game at 3-3 in a game Post 77 would eventually lose 7-4.

Tarleton and the bullpen were rocked early and often by Rowan County (N.C.) Post 342 on Sunday, and the offense never got going, collecting just four hits in a 13-0 loss.

"Our hitting, lack of (hitting), finally caught up to us; it was anemic," said Conyers coach Eddie Bagwell. "They went in a slump at the wrong time."

Conyers hit .214 (26-for-121) in the Southeast Regional and .217 (66-for-257) for the entire postseason.

Diaz weighing

limited offers

Despite his success pitching for Heritage High School and his performance in the 2009 postseason for Conyers, Diaz was still searching for a bonafide college offer.

Diaz, who dazzled in the second-round victory over Bayamon (Puerto Rico) Post 48 and allowed one earned run in 162/3 post-season innings, had some partial interest from a few schools, but after Sunday's game said he's close to accepting a scholarship to the University of Puerto Rico. Diaz is half-Puerto Rican.

"I think he doesn't buzz the radar gun, he's not throwing 89, 90; often times that what (college scouts) go by," said Bagwell. "There's no reason that he can't pitch at some college somewhere and show people that he can get outs at that level and he can get another opportunity at a bigger college."

Diaz also finished the regular season hot, winning two games to help Conyers sew up the No. 2 seed. He continued his mastery in the state tournament, allowing one run in 72/3 innings in an 8-3 win over Douglasville.

"His last three or four starts, he's just been unreal," said Bagwell.

Jackson impresses

in limited role

Taylor Jackson made good use of his time this postseason.

In four starts, Jackson went 6-for-12 at the plate and reached base in 10 of 16 plate appearances.

Jackson, a senior at Alcovy, also proved a valuable utility man, playing left field, second base, third base and backing up Chunk Smith behind the plate.

Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at kurt.aschermann@rockdalecitizen.com

SideBar: By the numbers

· .305, .201 - Conyers was 25-for-70 (.305) at the plate in two state tournament wins over Alpharetta (12-5) and Douglasville (13-3). In its other six post-season games, Post 77 was 41-for-187 for a .201 team batting average.

· 12 - Number of runs Conyers scored in the eighth innings of its post-season games, including four in the bottom of the eighth, last Saturday against Rowan County.