CONYERS -- A mix-up in the rules took away the momentum from Rockdale late in the contest allowing Tuscaloosa to hit a three-run homer on its way to an 11-6 win in the first game of the doubleheader on Wednesday at Hanson-Carr field.
With runners on the corners, Rockdale pitcher Casey Shubert faked a throw to third base turning around getting the runner out as he was heading to second base. However, instead of an out it resulted in a run on the balk.
"We thought that rule didn't go into effect until next year. But you learn something new every day. That one came and kind of bit us," Rockdale manager Demarco Hamm said. "That (home run) was the killer. I told the guys they have to bounce back the second game and earn the split."
The second game in Wednesday's doubleheader between Tuscaloosa Post 34 and Rockdale Post 77 finished too late for this edition.
Tuscaloosa put Post 77 in the hole early in the game taking a 6-2 lead in the second inning. Post 34 scored three runs in the first inning before coming back with three more in the second. Rockdale kept the game close, scoring both runs in their first at-bat.
Tuscaloosa had 14 batters in the first two innings, getting eight hits. Rockdale had a good game at the plate with 11 hits. Leading Post 77 at the plate was Eric Alderman, who was a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Also getting extra-base hits were Jake Wright (double) and Zack Bailey with a triple.
Rockdale's defense rose to the occasion and kept Post 34 from extending their lead, holding them scoreless for two innings. Rockdale added one more run to its tally as Jake Wright crossed the plate on a Drew Buckhault hit to make it 6-3 after four complete innings.
A high bouncer by Cameron Ragsdale plated Evan Alderman before a double by Wright brought Keith Buckhault around the bases to make it a one-run game.
"The guys had a lot of pep in their step and thought we were going to pull another out. We just feel short at the end," Hamm said. "We've been doing it all year. We get out bats together and hits together and find a way to come back. We fell short and got down a little too early."
The feeling that they had a chance to win quickly vanished with a three-run homer following a run scoring on a balk to give Tuscaloosa a 11-5 lead in the middle of the sixth.
Despite being down by six runs, Post 77 continued to battle scoring a run in the final inning.
"I think we got shell shocked a little bit. We never felt like we were out of the game," Hamm said. "The lead just got to us at the end."