CONYERS - The Rockdale baseball squad opened its season with a loud bang Monday evening at home with a 17-1 blistering of North Springs in four innings.
The Bulldogs recorded an on-base percentage of .613, tallying 10 hits, six walks, three hit batsmen and seven stolen bases.
"We've just been really focusing on swinging the bats. They've got a different mindset now," Rockdale coach Casey Martin said. "They're ready to come out here and swing the bats instead of watching a lot of pitches - they're looking to hit."
Rockdale senior flamethrower Buck Farmer collected the win. In three innings pitched, Farmer struck out eight while allowing just one infield hit and one walk.
The Bulldogs set the tone early by plating seven runs in the first inning off two hits and three errors, which led to four unearned runs.
After retiring the side in order - fanning the first two batters faced - Farmer gave Rockdale the early lead in the bottom half of the inning thanks to an RBI single to right field.
Kevin Dawkins followed with an RBI double to left to make it 3-0 before the fielding miscues plagued North Springs, leading to four more runs.
Rockdale added two more runs in the second, the latter coming from an Aaron Barfield RBI single to center field, to make it 9-0.
Despite allowing an infield hit off the handle to Bishop Womack in the top of the third frame, Farmer struck out the next two batters to negate any chance of a rally.
The Bulldogs chalked up three more runs in the bottom of the third to go up 12-0. Dawkins, who finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored, provided the pop with a two-run homer over the left field fence.
North Springs scored its only run in the fourth on a throwing error, allowing Jake Desmond to cross home plate.
Yet Rockdale scored five more times in the bottom of the fourth inning to send North Springs home early. The highlight was a three-run dinger by Chris Robuck that cleared the center field fence with plenty of distance.
"All year long since we ended last season I knew that we could come out and hit," Martin acknowledged. "If we can continue to do that I think we're going to be pretty competitive.
"We set the tone like we wanted to set the tone at home tonight," he added. "We just need to carry it on and improve game by game."
Rockdale's Terrence Hutcherson ended 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a pair of doubles.
Paul Ogletree was tagged for the loss. In two innings pitched, Ogletree allowed nine runs (five earned), four hits and four walks.
"We had one base-running mistake, but overall there are not a whole lot of things you can say bad about hitting the baseball and getting outs when we needed to," Martin said. "Overall, I'm very well pleased."
Jason Murdock can be reached at email@example.com.