Rockdale Post 77 swept a twin bill from Loganville Post 233 Tuesday at Henson Carr Field. Rockdale shut out Loganville 10-0 in the first game, and then pounded its way to a 15-9 victory in the second game. Rockdale (16-11) has now won five games in a row.
"We're riding some momentum right now, but as some people say, momentum is only as good as the next game's pitchers," Rockdale coach Jack Murphy said.
In the first game, Rockdale played about as good as it has all year. Brandon Ward toed the rubber for Rockdale, pitching four innings while holding Loganville to four hits. With Ward showing signs of fatigue, Drew Rodgers pitched the fifth inning to close the game.
"Brandon was pitching well but he had a little bit of tenderness in his elbow, so we went ahead and took him out," Murphy said. "We don't' take chances on pitchers' arms. We don't want anybody to get injured. But he's [Ward] been lights out for us. I think that's his fourth shutout of the year."
While Ward and Rodgers took care of the shutout, Rockdale's offense put on the blowout. Rockdale scored two runs in the first inning, and then eight more in the second. After that, Post 77 held out until the fifth inning, when the mercy rule came into play. Nathan Fawbush, Ryan Griffin and Micah Jones all finished with two RBI and two hits apiece, while Josh Stevenson contributed with one hit, two walks and two runs scored.
In the second game, Rockdale again won by a large margin, but it took a lot longer to get it done.
Loganville went up 5-0 in the first inning after touching up Rockdale's starting pitcher J.C. Dunagan. Out of the first six batters he faced, five got hits and two scored.
With the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, Murphy gave Dunagan the hook and put it Stevenson. The new pitcher's first offering was hammered back up the middle for an RBI single, increasing Loganville's lead to 3-0. The next batter hit a grounder that looked like it would start an inning-ending double play, but instead a bad throw to first base let Loganville score two runs and extend the inning. A single, a wild pitch and a hit batsman loaded the bases for Loganville, but Stevenson managed to force a ground out to escape the jam.
Loganville had a 5-0 lead but would give it back just as quickly. In the bottom half of the inning, Rockdale scored six runs on five hits and a passed ball. Loganville never saw the lead again.
The score stayed 6-5 until the third inning when Rockdale put four more runs on the board. Jones led off with a solo homer before Josh Flippen scored on a pass ball.
Kale Blackshear then knocked two men home on a single to center field. After giving up an unearned run to Loganville in the fourth inning, Stevenson was replaced in the fifth by Cameron Griffin. He pitched the remaining two innings and allowed two earned runs on two Loganville hits.
Loganville got within two in the fifth, but Rockdale pulled away in the bottom of the inning and went on to win 15-9.
Jones finished the game 2-for-4 with a triple, a home run and four RBI. Flippen finished 3-for-4 with three RBI while Blackshear went 1-for-4 with three walks, two RBI and a run scored.
"I think in the first game we did well," Murphy said. "We played pretty well, but [Loganville] helped us a lot with walks and passed balls. Their pitching really wasn't there. And, in the second game, our pitching struggled at first, but we kept our heads up and took advantage of what they gave us - and we got some timely hitting, so it worked out for us.
"J.C. [Dunagan] is a lot better than you saw tonight. He's pitched some good games for us. I'm not worried about him, he's good pitcher, it just wasn't his night. And, Josh [Stevenson] did alright. He had kind of had a rough start, but he settled down and did a good job. I was extremely pleased with the way he pitched. But, we're rounding into shape. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum and take it into state, because I think, right now, we're looking really good."