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Posted: July 2, 2013 7:36 p.m.

Heart to heart leads to wins

Before facing Dawsonville, the Post 77 baseball team gathered for a team meeting.

The American Legion baseball team based out of Rockdale, but consisting of players throughout the area, was fresh off defeats of 11-6 and 13-8 to Tuscaloosa, Ala., three days earlier and things looked bleak. Coach Demarco Hamm gathered his team for a “heart to heart.”

“The guys were getting back after the loss to Tuscaloosa and we wanted to bounce back and get the ball rolling again,” Hamm said. “They responded very well.”

Post 77 was hitting the ball well in both losses to Tuscaloosa, but it was nothing compared to Saturday’s rout of Dawsonville, 27-10, on the road.

Cameron Ragsdale knocked out two home runs and Cole Murphy and Keith Buckhault had one each, with Murphy driving in six RBI. Former Eastside standout Jake Wright went 5 for 5 with a triple as Post 77 broke it open in the third inning. Rockdale trailed 2-1 going into the frame, when it poured on eight runs in the top half of the third.

Later, leading 15-7, Rockdale cast aside any doubt with a five-run sixth inning. Dawsonville scored three of its own in the bottom half of that frame, but it was for naught as Rockdale’s lead was already insurmountable. Post 77 furthered that case with seven runs in the top half of the final inning.

The pitching also did its job, allowing just five of the 10 runs as earned with Josh Smith and Cole Hamilton on the mound.

Casey Shubert followed Hamilton and Smith’s performance Sunday in helping Rockdale defeat Loganville 10-1 in its last game before the Fourth of July break.

“Casey Shubert pitched an excellent game,” Hamm said. “I couldn’t even put into words the good job he did.

“He pitched excellent against Loganville, and we only pulled him out of the game in the seventh inning because of pitch count; otherwise he could have gone the full game.”

Ragsdale finished the game off after the game’s final score was already on the scoreboard.

Playing a key role in that score was Wright, who went 3 for 4, Cole Murphy and Zach Bailey with a home run and three RBI each, and Musashi Briem with two RBI and a double.

While the runs flew on the board in Saturday and Sunday’s wins, it was his team’s response to the previous losses that most pleased the first-year legion head coach.

“The guys weren’t too happy with the losses,” Hamm said. “In hindsight, I think it was a good thing to keep them really focused.”

Post 77 returns from the break at Alpharetta Monday before returning home against Canton July 11 and the Renegades July 13.

“We’re about to start playing a lot of baseball with not too many breaks in between up until the state tournament,” Hamm said.

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