DOUGLASVILLE - Post 145 closer Dalton Acord was laboring in the top of the seventh inning. After walks to Travis Tarleton and Anthony Bazzani, which followed Cameron Gibson's run-scoring single, Acord had a bases loaded, no out situation and a lead that had been 8-1 was trimmed to 8-6.
But that's just when Acord got going. The right-handed fireballer struck out three consecutive batters to preserve Douglasville's 8-6 victory over Conyers Post 77 in the opening game of the POW/MIA Tournament at Hunter Park.
"(Acord) just bowed his neck, man," Douglasville coach Kent Quinn said. "He's just a very tough kid, never gives up, and that's what (is) so great about him."
"(We) had our chance, bases loaded nobody out," Conyers coach Eddie Bagwell said. "Give (Acord) credit, he battled back. This kid throws good."
Douglasville built its big lead against Conyers starting pitcher Brandon Crumbley and ineffective reliever Nick Matteen, thanks to great production from the meat of its order. Following consecutive two-out walks in the first inning, No. 5 hitter Avery Miller laced a two-run double to put Post 145 up 2-0. In the third, No. 3 hitter Jordan Quinn's RBI-double made it a 3-1 game and cleanup hitter Michael Goodman and No. 6 hitter Montana Dowda each had a two-RBI double in a five-run sixth off Matteen.
"Our 3-4-5-6 hole guys are on fire right now, absolutely," Kent Quinn said. "I don't want to jinx it."
Conyers' offense, which was without big bats Tyler Austin and Chunk Smith, missed opportunities through the first five innings before breaking out in the sixth off starter and winning pitcher Alex Wilson, who struck out six in 51/3 innings. Wilson allowed a fielder's choice RBI to Matteen and was chased following David Lockwood's opposite field, three-run home run that cut the lead to 8-5. Acord, a rising sophomore at Middle Georgia College, came on in relief and worked around shortstop Bradley Mills' second error of the day by getting two strike outs to end the frame.
"You miss (Austin and Smith's) bats. We're playing short-handed, but we've got to battle with the ones you've got," Bagwell said. "We didn't take advantage early. Tough loss."
Crumbley allowed four earned runs and walked five in four innings, retiring five of the final six batters he faced. Conyers now faces the probable task of having to win each of its final two pool games to reach Sunday's championship semifinals.
"Brandon Crumbley threw a good game," Bagwell said. "He gave us a chance. (The loss) puts us in a situation where we've got to win (today) and win Saturday."