DOUGLASVILLE - Both Post 77 teams are still in contention in the American Legion State Baseball Tournaments with wins on Thursday at Hunter Park.
Conyers defeated Alpharetta 12-5 while Rockdale eliminated Albany in their 18-4 contest.
Conyers picked a perfect time to have one of its best all-around games of the season. Beau Thomas pitched six effective innings, the offense exploded for two big innings and the defense came up with several outstanding plays in a 12-5 win over Alpharetta in the quarterfinals of the Legion State Tournament at Hunter Park.
Thomas, who made his first appearance in more than two weeks, allowed a solo home run to Justin Deshan in the second inning that tied the game at 1-1, but the southpaw retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced, four on strikeouts and two on diving catches by right fielder Ross Roberts.
"I usually play center field so I can get a read on the ball," Roberts said. "I made some good reads; it feels great."
Meanwhile, Conyers' offense went to work in the third inning, batting around and scoring six runs with two outs off losing pitcher Deshan (4 IP, 7 ER, 7 K). Following Roberts' double and a walk to Brandon Thomas, Cameron Gibson ripped a two-run double to put Conyers up 3-1. Chunk Smith and Travis Tarleton each added run-scoring hits and Anthony Bazzani capped the scoring with a long, two-run home run to make it a 7-1 game.
"That was a big inning, we had a lot of things pay off for us," Conyers coach Eddie Bagwell said.
Thomas tired late, allowing two runs in both the sixth and seventh inning as Alpharetta cut the lead to 7-5. David Lockwood finished the seventh inning for Thomas as he and Jimmy Gerard combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
Post 77 put the game out of reach by batting around again in a five-run seventh inning. Smith hit a sacrifice fly to make it an 8-5 game as Brandon Crumbley and Taylor Jackson had consecutive, two-run hits off left-hander Brian Imperiale.
"When it got to 7-5 I was worried, but we stayed focused," Bagwell said. "Beau Thomas gave us a great start ... he ran out of gas there at the end (but) he threw an unbelievable game. Canton's next on the list; they're a very good ball club. We're serious about doing well in this tournament (and) I'm real pleased with where we're at."
Conyers faces Canton in the semi finals at 4 p.m. today.
Rockdale 18, Albany 4
Rockdale broke open a close game, scoring 14 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to defeated Albany in an elimination game at Hunter Park. Rockdale led 4-2 before a six-run fifth, capped by Ryan Griffin's grand slam. Post 77 added eight runs in the sixth as Marcus Smith, Griffin, Nick Hembree, Cris Jackson and Jake Parker all drove in runs.
Josh Stevenson pitched a complete game and allowed three earned runs while striking out 12.
Rockdale continues play in the loser's bracket with their 12:30 p.m. game today.
Douglasville 5, Rockdale 1
In the tournament opener, Rockdale's offense was quieted by Douglasville right-hander Ryan Turner in a 5-1 loss. Turner, a rising senior at Alexander High School, didn't allow a hit until Josh Parker's one-out single in the seventh and got 18 ground ball outs in his 114-pitch gem.
"(Turner) pitched a hell of a game," Rockdale coach Jack Murphy said. "We were on top of the ball ... we just didn't hit the ball."
Rockdale, the No. 5 seed, answered Jordan Quinn's run-scoring triple in Douglasville's half of the first by scoring an unearned run without the benefit of a hit in the third.
Parker reached on a throwing error, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a fielder's choice to tie the game at 1-1. That was all Post 77 could muster against Turner and a rejuvenated Douglasville defense, which bounced back from the shaky third inning and played sparkling in the field the rest of the way.
Post 77's Brandon Ward settled in and pitched four-hit ball after the first, but things fell apart in the seventh. Bryant ripped a double and Montana Dowda followed with a run-scoring single to give Douglasville a 2-1 lead and chase Ward. Three batters later, off new closer Cameron Griffin, Dusty Davis ripped a three-run home run to make it 5-1.
"(Ward) deserves better than he got," Murphy said. "I thought about not taking him out (in the seventh) ... he finished up so strong in the sixth (and) we let him go."
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.