LOGANVILLE -- Post 77 is just one win from playing in the American Legion baseball state tournament championship game after run-ruling Douglasville 13-3 in seven innings on Saturday at West Walton Park.
Rockdale took the double-digit win by playing well on defense, out-hitting Douglasville and taking advantage of its opponents mistakes.
"They helped us a good bit. The score should've been like 7-3 or something like that. We've been taking advantage of teams at state. When they make a mistake we pick up on it and add a little bit to it (score)," Rockdale manager Jack Murphy said. "It seems to get our guys up."
An error that showed Douglasville's mental state occurred in the sixth inning. On a double steal attempt, Randy Loew was able to score from third base after a poor throw by the Douglasville catcher. On the same play, Cody Wofford headed to second base on the steal and third base on the throw before heading home when the Douglasville left fielder let his head get out of the game.
"The left fielder looked a little lackadaisical and I just tried to take advantage of it. I figured if he was just lollygagging around I had enough speed to get there (home)," Wofford said. "I knew it was going to be close, I was hoping I got in there."
Rockdale put three more runs on the board in the third inning as a result of a couple of errors.
Even though the Douglasville errors helped Rockdale end the game early, it scored more than enough runs on their own to get the win. Rockdale had 12 hits while giving up five hits. Former Eastside player Keith Buckhault led Post 77 going 3-for-4 including a double. Getting two hits for Rockdale were Cole Murphy and Robert Bell. Murphy and Bell had the other extra-base hits with Murphy getting a double and Bell going yard.
After Rockdale made a few errors of their own in the bottom of the third to allow Douglasville to close the score to 4-3, Bell cleared the left-field wall to make it 6-3 before Buckhault had an RBI single to give Post 77 a four-run lead.
It looked like Rockdale was going to have to dig deep into the pitching when Matt Anderson got in trouble in the bottom of the fourth when he walked three batters to load the bases. But Rockdale's defense was able to get the final out before any runs crossed the plate.
"I was saying this next hitter is his last hitter and he got him out, that's why he stayed in," the manager said. "We really needed to get five innings out of our starter. If you start having to get into your pitching then come Monday you've used everyone in the tournament and you don't have any fresh arms (for championship)."
If Rockdale can beat the winner of the Lee County/Dawsonville game today at 1 p.m., it will be in the championship game Monday at 1 p.m. A loss puts Rockdale back on the field at 4 p.m. in a must-win situation in the double elimination tournament. While Rockdale has won its first two games by run-rule, Murphy is not taking any game lightly.
"I've been here lots of times and I've got zero state championships to show for it," he said. "I've been doing this since 1989. I've finished second like eight times. I feel like the Buffalo Bills of American Legion baseball."