Rockdale Post 77 looked ready to cruise to a victory in game one of a doubleheader Sunday against Loganville Post 233. And though the visitors made a valiant comeback, Post 77 had 16 hits and seven different players drove in runs in a 10-7 win at Henson-Carr Legion Field.
Rockdale jumped on top with a huge first inning. Facing Post 233 right-hander Kyle Knorek, M.J. Boykin got the frame started with a long fly ball that center fielder Lule Zimmerman misjudged into a double. Knorek induced a pop up from Daniel Croom, but that was the only out Knorek would record. Post 77 followed with eight consecutive hits, starting with Cameron Ragsdale’s single that chased home Boykin for a 1-0 lead. The five-through-nine hitters in the batting order all had run-scoring hits, including doubles from Ryan Sims and Zach Moates and singles by Cole Gibson, which drove in a pair of runs, and Nathan Greene and Mitch Henley. That made it a 7-0 game, but Loganville didn’t quit.
Post 233 chipped away with a run in the second as Zimmerman opened with a walk against Austin Whiteside and later scored on a two-out single by Robbi Walden. Loganville batted around in the third and tagged Whiteside for three runs, the big hits coming from local products Nathan Purcell, a rising senior at Alcovy, who ripped a two-run single and Newton rising junior Alex Johnson, whose RBI-single made it 8-4.
Whiteside picked up the win after five innings of four-run ball (three earned). Shawn Guckenberger struggled in the sixth, allowing run-scoring hits to Ben Fortner and Zimmerman, which helped Post 233 get as close as 9-7.
There wasn’t much offense to speak of in the nightcap as Rockdale (2-1) had just three hits and dropped its first game of the season, 4-1.
Post 77 trailed 4-0 before Whiteside was hit by a pitch to open the bottom of the sixth and later scored on a wild pitch for the hosts’ only run of the game.
“We just didn’t hit the ball second game,” said Post 77 coach Jack Murphy. “After that big first inning in the first game, our offense just went away…I guess we had too much success that first inning of the first game. We looked really weak at the plate in the second game, it was not good. We’re kind of a work in progress - we’re going to play good sometimes and sometimes we’re not going to play so good. We know we’ve got some work to do.”
Rockdale will join Covington Post 32 in the annual POW/MIA Tournament at Hunter Park in Douglasville later this week. Rockdale will have a rematch with Loganville in the opening game of the tournament Thursday at 7:30 p.m.