Post 77 Rockdale's baseball team made it through the regular season with just one loss and is primed for a run in the state playoffs beginning Thursday.
However, if history is any indication, Rockdale isn't guaranteed a state championship ring.
Post 77 had previously put together a 20-0 record in area and lost their first and last three games in the state tournament. In a similar season, it went 34-3 beating everyone in the state but lost its first two games and were bounced from the state tournament.
Rockdale is in a similar situation having gone undefeated in 2012 through area play and beating most everyone it faced by a comfortable margin. The next task comes Thursday, following a first-round bye, when Rockdale will face either Peachtree City or Albany.
Post 77 just defeated Peachtree City 11-1 on Sunday, its fourth win against them this year. The other victories were 14-0, 7-3 and 7-4. Against Albany this season, things weren't as easy for Rockdale.
Post 77's only loss of the season came against Albany in the P.O.W./M.I.A. Tournament to Albany, 10-7. Rockdale went on to avenge the loss in the tournament's title game, 11-8. Nonetheless Albany remains Rockdale's toughest competition and a potential matchup in the state tournament will be intriguing.
Rockdale coach Jack Murphy is looking for his veteran players to step up and keep their teammates focused whether they face Peachtree City or Albany.
"We do have some stud players on this team, but it seems like there's real good team chemistry," Murphy said.
That was on display this weekend when Rockdale was trailing 3-0 up in the fourth inning. It then had bases loaded but couldn't drive any of the three base runners home to get on the scoreboard.
However in the next inning, Rockdale scored four runs to prevent its second loss of the year.
"I remember Randy Loew saying, ‘Hey guys we want to stay unbeaten,'" Murphys said. The one thing we have is two or three guys stepping up in leadership position. I don't recall that having happened to us in the past."
Along with the leadership aspect, Murphy also likes his team's chances due to the timing of his players recovering from injuries. Several players have been hurt at different times throughout the year but seem to all be recovering at the same time.
"We seem to be getting right at the right time," Murphy said.
Also getting right is former Eastside player Jake Wright. Wright has been in a slump recently, before driving in a run on a sacrifice fly in Saturday's win over Douglasville and then connecting on a double and a two-run home run in an 11-1 win over Peachtree City on Sunday.
"One good thing Sunday was that Jake Wright was hitting the ball real well," Murphy said. "He's been struggling with the bat."
Murphy will look for Wright's recent streak and the health of his team to continue in the tournament's second round (Rockdale received a bye on Wednesday) Thursday at 1 p.m.