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Post 77 back-to-back baseball champs
legion ball-1

Rockdale Post 77 won its second straight American Legion baseball state championship Tuesday, doing so in a rout.

Post 77 didn’t lose a game in the double-elimination tournament in Alpharetta, winning the final 14-3 in seven innings.

Rockdale, which scored a total of 49 runs throughout its four state tournament games, continued its hot-hitting ways in the title tilt.

"We put up a bunch of runs in a heartbeat, and they stayed pretty level throughout the ball game," Rockdale manager Demarco Hamm said.

Six players were a part of the 2012 state championship team, and so was Hamm, but as a coach to now-retired manager Jack Murphy. Hamm said his first championship as the coach in charge was similar to winning last season’s title.

"There wasn’t really too much different from this year to last year," Hamm said. "This year I took a little more responsibility as far as behind the scenes type things. But that’s about it."

For the players returning for their second-straight championship, including Cole Murphy and former Eastside slugger Jake Wright, things were a little different as far as confidence goes.

"I knew it was possible because of the core of the guys we had coming back," Hamm said. "The guys were real pumped before the game. They could see another state championship in their grasp.

"They were ready for the challenge and were champing at the bit to get out there and play."

That readiness was evident early when, after Douglasville scored a run in the top of the first inning, Rockdale put five on the board in the bottom of the first frame.

It added to its lead, scoring three runs in the second and one in the fourth, before finishing things off with a five-run sixth inning.

Murphy hit two doubles and drove in two runs, and Wright had three hits, driving in three runs.

"Both of those guys were the core of the team last year, and they were the guys who stepped up. For leadership, I couldn’t have asked for a better job of being tone setters and leading by example.

Evan Alderman was 4-for-5 hitting for Rockdale, and Murphy was tournament MVP, hitting over .500 throughout the four games.

After throwing a complete-game shutout in the tournament’s opening game, Casey Shubert pitched six innings in the championship victory, allowing five hits and walking two.

The three runs allowed were the second- highest total of the tournament for Rockdale, which shutout Leesburg 11-0 in the opener, beat Dawsonville 19-1 in the semifinals and then beat Douglasville 15-13 to set up the deciding final game.

"It was a sloppy game on both ends," Hamm said. "Our bats were hot all season and we had to outhit them. That’s the good thing about our team, is we’re going to hit the baseball."

In the first game against Douglasville, Alderman again had four hits and Murphy drove in three runs.

Rockdale will look to continue its offensive prowess in the region tournament, which begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against the host team Randolph County in Asheboro N.C.

Last season Rockdale fell early in the region tournament, missing several players and a good portion of its pitching staff due to school starting back up. This season, Hamm said, that won’t be the case.

"This year is a little bit different from last year, where school schedules really messed us up," he said. "This year, they don’t start back in school until a week later than usual."