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A Rockdale rout
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Two games into the state tournament and American Legion Post 77 hasn't finished one of them.

After winning by a 10-run rule in its tournament opening game Thursday, Rockdale duplicated the feat Saturday, defeating Douglasville 13-3.

Rockdale will now play the winner of Leesburgh and Dawsonville today for a chance to advance to Monday's championship game.
Against Douglasville, Rockdale had a well-rounded offensive game with everyone but one batter getting a hit and scoring a run. Eastside's Keith Buckhault led the way with three hits, including two doubles, two RBI and reached bat on all five of his trips to the plate.

After leading the second inning off with a double, and then scoring the inning's lone run on an error, Buckhault drove in Jake Wright and Robert Bell after an error by Douglasville's third baseman. In the fourth inning, Buckhault continued to produce, this time on a double to drive in Randy Loew.

Buckhault's final hit came on a single in a five-run sixth inning.

"Keith continues to hit," Rockdale coach Jack Murphy said. "He's probably 7 for 9 in the tournament."

Post 77 also got a big day from Robert Bell, who had two hits, including a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Rockdale finished with 12 hits, but also took advantage of five Douglasville errors and other defensive lapses.

"They helped us a good bit," Murphy said. "It probably should have been about a 7-3 score or something like that. But we take advantage of team's mistakes. When they make mistakes, we pick it up and add to it."

Post 77, which improved to 27-1 this season, has made it a habit of capitalizing on miscues throughout the season, adding to what has been a prolific offense and deep pitching staff.

"We're a good team to take advantage of team's mistakes," Murphy said. "It seems to pick us up."

Post 77's first run came thanks to a throwing error by Douglasville's shortstop in the second inning, scoring Buckhault. Then Buckhault brought in two runs on an error in the second, and Jeremy Sparks followed with an RBI single to score Cody Wofford.

Douglasville answered in the third inning with three runs, following the bases being loaded, but Rockdale bounced right back.

Post 77's starting pitcher Matt Anderson was close to being relieved in the third inning, but managed to get out of the inning on a fly out to the third baseman, and remained in for two more frames.

"We really needed to get five innings from our starter today because you start having to get into your pitching more," Murphy said. "It's not good come Monday if you've used everybody in the tournament and don't have any fresh arms."

Anderson pitched five innings, allowing five hits while walking five.

Ryan Knight pitched the sixth inning, striking out two and giving up one hit. Since Knight didn't throw more than 20 pitches, Murphy said he will still be available for today's start.

Following Knight's four batters, Greg Preston finished it off with a ground out to the pitcher, a strikeout and a ground out to the shortstop in the seventh inning.

By the time Knight came in, the game had already been decided after a three-run fourth inning, which included Bell's home run.

In the sixth inning, Loew reached on a single, followed by a walk to Wofford. The two then attempted a double steal, which Douglasville couldn't prevent due to a throwing error by the catcher. The ball went past the third baseman, allowing Loew to score and Wofford to reach third. Wofford, who had already went from first, to second and to third on the play, came home to score on a hesitation by the left fielder. Buckhault then got on first base on a single, Sparks walked and Murphy brought home Buckhault on a single.

Wright, who had two runs and two walks in the game, then hit into a two-run double, making the score 12-3.

Rockdale tacked on the mercy-rule inducing run after Logan Smith reached on a single. Sparks drove in the clinching run on a sacrifice fly to center field.
"It was a good win but we still have a ways to go," Murphy said.