The Rockdale Post 77 American Legion baseball team was down big early in Sunday's championship game of the Albany Tournament. But like so many times before in 2012, Post 77 found a way to win.
Rockdale rallied from a seven-run deficit to defeat host Albany Post 30, 11-8 to win the four-team tournament last weekend at Paul Eames Sports Complex.
Rockdale (19-1), after playing 20 games in 30 days, will have a week off before returning to Henson-Carr Legion Field on Sunday for a doubleheader with Cumming Post 307.
"We're just happy to have this five or six days to get a little way from baseball, there's been a lot of baseball this month," Post 77 coach Jack Murphy said. "We need this break ... we'll welcome this week of rest."
In the title game Sunday, Albany, which had handed Rockdale its first loss of the season, 10-7 on Saturday, jumped out to an 8-1 lead on starter Cole Hamilton, who lasted just 1 innings pitched. Murphy said Hamilton wasn't hit hard, but Post 30 found holes in building what seemed like a comfortable lead.
"They weren't hitting the ball hard, but they were just getting hits. (Hamilton) just didn't have any pitcher's luck," Murphy said.
After Hamilton departed, Logan Smith made his season debut and was excellent. The left-hander, who had been out since early-June with a bad cut on his finger, tossed 6 innings of relief to allow his offense to come back. In a five-run fourth, Cole Murphy, Randy Loew and Fred Williams each had an RBI to get Post 77 to within 8-6.
Then the Keith Buckhault Show began. In the sixth, Jeremy Sparks ripped an RBI-single to make it 8-7 before Buckhault launched a game-tying solo home run. Two innings later, Buckhault did it again, ripping a two-run homer to give Rockdale the lead for good at 10-8.
"Those home runs by Keith, they were big," Murphy said. "(And Smith) completely shut them down rest of the way; he had nasty stuff."
To get to the championship game, Post 77 had no trouble with Leesburg Post 137, winning 15-5 in the first game of the day.