LOGANVILLE - No two games could have been more different for Rockdale Post 77 in its doubleheader with Loganville Post 233 on Tuesday.
Rockdale had three hits in its 9-3 loss to start the doubleheader before bringing the bats to life in the second game, a 10-hit explosion that led to an 11-4 win and the split.
"All you can do is play them one at a time and hope the guys show up to play," Rockdale manager Jack Murphy said. "The first game we didn't show up."
Marcus Smith paced Post 77 at the plate with four hits, all in the second game, including a double and a home run.
Also getting multiple hits were Joseph Lester, who had three with two doubles in the first game, and Jake Parker, who went 2-for-2 in the second game.
Getting the win for Rockdale was Nathan Fawbush, who threw all seven innings. He fanned 10 batters, walked four, hit two and allowed six hits - three coming in the first inning.
"The secret we found to Nathan is that if we let him get a little tired, like play him in the first game and bring him in to pitch in the second, he's much more effective," Murphy said. "He pitched a good game and kept his composure after we made those two errors in the first inning. He could have blown up in the dugout, but he's matured a lot."
In the bottom of the first inning of Game 2, an error extended the inning and allowed Loganville to take a 3-0 lead.
Smith cut the lead in the third with a two-run blast before Loganville made it 4-2 in the home half.
Fawbush kept Loganville off balance for the rest of the game, while Post 77 got it together in the sixth scoring six runs.
Two of the runs came on walks with the bases loaded. Another came as a result of a wild pitch.
"They made the mistakes we did in the first game and gave it back to us," Murphy said. "I think we started feeling a little bit good about ourselves when we came back and scored those six runs and got ahead."
Rockdale scored three more in the top of the seventh to finish the scoring.
In the first game, Loganville pitcher Justin Hughes kept Rockdale from getting the ball in play. Of the 21 outs recorded by Loganville, 16 were from pop-ups handled by the infield or high flys into the outfield.
It wasn't Hughes' power that did Rockdale in, it was his slow, high-arched breaking balls that kept Post 77 from hitting.
"That's the second time we've faced somebody that's pitched like that. We have to learn how to hit some of that slow stuff," Murphy said.
Rockdale got on the board in the top of the first on a two-run Cole Peeples homer.
However, Loganville responded, scoring three to take a 3-2 lead. Loganville later added to its tally, making the score 7-2 after two innings.
Lester's double plated Smith in the third, but Post 233 was able to respond with a run of its own.
Loganville closed the game hoping to make a statement for the second game, scoring three runs in the final two innings.
"To their credit, they came out and hit the ball real good in that first game," Murphy said. "They didn't look like a team that had only won one game. We were talking (after the first game) and we were putting the ball down the middle of the plate. You just can't do that. You still have to work the corners a little bit and have something on the ball.
"We're happy to get out of here with a split. I'm hoping that when we did it together, sometime by the state playoff, we'll be OK."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.