ASHEBORO, N.C. — After losing the first game of the American Legion Southeast Regionals to the host team, Rockdale Post 77 turned it around to win two games in a row making it to the semifinals.
Even though their back are against the wall in the double-elimination tournament, Rockdale head coach Demarco Hamm does not think these upcoming games put any pressure on his team.
“There’s no pressure since we’ve made it this far. It’s all good things from here,” he said. “I don’t think there have been any teams from out Post that have won two games at region.”
Rockdale started the tournament on Thursday with a 10-0 loss to Asheboro (N.C.) before eliminating Florida with a 12-6 win on Friday. They sent Kentucky (Campbellsville) packing with a 13-4 win on Saturday.
Post 77 will play against the North Carolina team out of Wilmington today at 4:30 p.m.
A win by Rockdale against today puts them in the championship game on Monday.
Post 77 came out flat against the host team only getting three hits while striking out six times. Defensively, Post 77 gave up 13 hits and 10 runs as they were unable to put any runs on the board.
Musashi Briem had two of Rockdale’s hits with Peyton Pallay getting the other.
“We can’t do like we did (regular season) where we take off for a week or two and comeback and beat somebody,” Hamm said. “It’s different when you come up here.”
With one game from elimination, Post 77 struggled against the Florida (Jacksonville) team as Florida jumped out to a 6-0 run through four innings of play. Not ready or willing to give up, Rockdale scored a run in the fifth, sixth and seventh inning while keeping Florida off balance to make it a 6-3 game.
Rockdale made a statement in the eighth inning scoring nine runs to take the lead. They were able to keep Florida from gaining any momentum while holding on for the win.
The Buckhault brothers, Drew and Keith, and Hunter Ballard paced the team at the plate getting four hits each with Jack Wright and Cole Murphy getting two hits.
After having to come from behind to beat Florida, Rockdale did not make that mistake again against Kentucky. Rather than trailing 6-0, Post 77 jumped out to a 6-0 lead scoring three runs in the first and three more in the second inning. After Kentucky got on the board in the top of the fourth, Tyler Mahan hit a grand slam in the home-half of the inning to make it 10-1.
Kentucky scored three runs, one in the fifth and two in the sixth, to close the margin but Rockdale increased their lead back to nine runs with a three-run eighth inning.
Murphy and Briem each had three hits against Kentucky with Drew Buckhault getting two.
In the three games, Drew Buckhault leads the team in hits going 10-for-6 with Briem and Murphy at five hits and Ballard and Keith Buckhault getting four hits.
“We’re still not with a full crew. We’re here without Zach Bailey and Cameron Ragsdale and those are two good guys. Then we won’t have Cole Murphy for (today’s) game because he has to go back to his college (Andrews),” Hamm said. “Every team is using at least two or three pitchers a game because of the talent of the hitting.”