DOUGLASVILLE - Conyers Post 77 combined hitting, pitching and fielding to secure a No. 1 seed in their side of the bracket of the POW-MIA Tournament with a 24-4 win over Dothan (Ala.), at Hunter Park on Saturday.
"We just got a win over the best ball club in the southeast, in my opinion, in Dothan (Ala.)," Conyers coach Eddie Bagwell said. "Coach (Larry) Tubbs does a great job with that team. They are very well prepared and they don't make very many mistakes."
Post 77 pitcher Brandon Thomas held a very good hitting team to nine hits while fanning three batters in three innings of work.
"Brandon Thomas pitched an unbelievable game," Bagwell said. "He did as good a job as he could to keep them off balance. He gave us a big game."
Another big part to Thomas' time on the mound, which resulted in the win, was that he did not give up any walks.
"I always try to throw strikes and make them hit grounders," Thomas said. "If you give them a walk, that's like a freebie. So I make them beat me with their bats instead of giving them a free pass to the base."
Conyers took a lot of pressure off Thomas, scoring 14 runs in the top of the first inning and sending 19 batters to the plate.
Helping put runs on the board was a Cameron Gibson grand slam and a three-run dinger by Chunk Smith.
Post 77 finished the game with 16 hits of which only five were for extra bases.
"What we've been working on trying to get through their minds is not to live off the long ball. Let's get hits back-to-back and then come up with a big clutch hit, which we did. We did what we think we're capable of doing game in and game out," Bagwell said.
Also having a big day at the plate were Tyler Austin (4-for-4) and Ross Roberts (2-for-2, double). Also getting an extra-base hit (double) was Brandon Crumbley.
"Tyler's (bat) is huge and Ross Roberts is one of the newest guys we picked up. He's finally coming around getting his timing back. He had a good day," Bagwell said. "Cameron Gibson had a good day and Chunk Smith had a good day. We're swinging the bats the way we thought we were capable of."
Dothan was not willing to go down quietly as it scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
However, Conyers answered back the next inning scoring four more runs while allowing one in the home half of the second.
"You have to throw strikes. Because when we're winning 14-0, I could give up 10 runs and still be leading," Thomas said. "It makes it a lot easier."
Making sure to have a run-rule victory, Conyers padded its lead crossing the plate six times while keeping Dothan off the scoreboard.
"We hit the ball extremely well early, we scored 14 in the first inning. That gives you a lot of breathing room. It takes a lot of pressure off when you put that many up the first inning. I just hope we haven't scored all of our runs (Saturday) for (today)," Bagwell said.
Conyers plays the No. 2 seed from the other side of the bracket, Rockdale Post 77 or East Alabama, today at 1 p.m. with the winner advancing to the tournament championship game at 4 p.m.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.