Post 32 may have gone to the American Legion Georgia Tournament at a disadvantage not having any players with college experience. But that did not stop them from taking care of business as they beat everyone they faced to win the state tournament with their 8-3 win over Albany at Paul Eames Field on Monday.
Former Heritage pitcher Domenic Bazzani gave the A’s four innings on the mound without giving up a hit. Bazzani pitched five innings giving up three hits, walking three and striking out nine batters.
“We went in with the mindset of playing good baseball and we did. They’re seeing results from the fruits of their labor. That’s a good thing for us as coaches,” Post 32 coach Eddie Bagwell said. “Bill (Dallas) is 100 percent about our guys being intense and giving their best effort once they step on that field. We want them to battle every pitch at every at-bat and when you do those things good things come from it. The result is Covington Post 32 are Georgia state champions.”
While Bazzani and the Covington defense kept Albany from putting together an offensive threat, A’s bats were hitting everything that came their way jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
After Hunter Ballard got a free pass to the first base, Drew Buckhault crushed the ball off the wall in the outfield for an RBI double. A Hank Steele fielder’s choice and a Ryan Sutton walk loaded the bases allowing Dalton Reagin to get an RBI on a walk. Steele scored the final run of the inning on a Zach Beggs sacrifice fly giving Post 32 a 3-0 lead.
Post 32 got back on the offensive in the fourth inning scoring three more times giving Covington a 6-0 lead.
“We put base hits back to back to back followed by a sac fly and a double. We were very consistent getting base runners on. We swing the bats pretty good, plus we scored one in the seventh and one in the ninth,” Bagwell said.
Getting the hits for Covington in the fourth were Cale Brown, Steele and Sutton with Reagin getting a sacrifice fly before Beggs cleared the bases with a double.
Post 30 scored three runs making it 6-3 before Alcovy junior Blake Shope shut them down facing 12 batters in the four innings he pitched.
“Bill put together a strong team right out of the gate. We focused on pitching, that was our mindset of the going in. Those other teams had college freshman but it didn’t matter to us. It doesn’t matter of you’re 15-years-old or 19-years-old, if you can play you can play,” Bagwell said. “We made no bones about it, our strength is pitching. We feel pretty confident about the guys that we’ve got. The guys playing behind our pitchers are a good complement to our pitchers. We can go six (innings) strong with our pitching. Let’s see if that holds up. But we feel pretty confident on our pitching staff.”
The A’s made it to the championship round with a 14-1, seven inning win over Loganville. Gray Ritchey threw all seven innings giving up five hits and no walks.
Post 32 advances to the American Legion Southeast Tournament on August 7 against the North Carolina state champion at McCrary Park in Asheboro, North Carolina.