Conyers Post 77's stirring run falls short in state final
Alcovy's Thomas, Jackson lead the way in final games
The American Legion state baseball tournament started out headed in different directions for the two Post 77 teams, before finishing at opposite destinations.
For Post 77 Rockdale, the opening game of the tournament held in Albany resulted in an 18-2 win over the host team. Judging by the result things seemed to be going well for Jack Murphy's team, which won its second game 20-11 against Leesburg.
However in that second game, Rockdale had Leesburg down early and let it get back in it, causing Post 77 to use up some valuable pitching.
That trend continued in a 14-4 loss to eventualchampion Douglasville, leaving Rockdale light on pitchers for their final game against Conyers.
"We had to keep using pitchers in back-to-back games, we even brought in an outfielder to pitch against Douglasville," Murphy said. "When pitching goes south, that's what happens.
Rockdale played well throughout the regular season, earning a No. 2 seed in the tournament, but couldn't get enough players at the ballpark throughout the year.
"We had a good season, I think in the final count we were like 24-9 or something like that," Murphy said. "It was kind of a tough season for us. Even though we had a good record, we never had all 18 players there at the same time, which we needed too."
For Post 77's other baseball team the state tournament didn't start out nearly as well, leaving its coach, Eddie Bagwell thinking he was in for an early exit.
Conyers fell into the loser's bracket in the opening game, falling to Loganville 8-0. However, after its initial loss, Conyers was able to finally find its bats for the first time in weeks, just one loss away from going home.
After averaging about two runs a game, Conyers defeated Leesburg 160, followed by a 9-3 win over Loganville.
"The way we've been playing leading up to the tournament and in the first game, I was betting we were going home,"
Bagwell said. "But I was extremely proud of the way we battled back. We showed great inner fortitude, intensity and tenacity, and they picked it up."
Conyers continued to show the intensity against Rockdale, winning 16-2, and Douglasville, winning 9-7 to set up a repeat for the state championship.
The bats of Beau Thomas, Seth Allen and Randy Loew, along with the pitching arm of Taylor Jackson led the way for Conyers, as Bagwell said all four deserve recognition.
"If we would have won it we would have had
"If we would have won it we would have had three or four candidates for MVP in Beau Thomas, Taylor Jackson, Seth Allen and Randy Loew. All of them just had great tournaments." — Eddie Bagwell, Post 77 coach
three or four candidates for MVP in Beau Thomas, Taylor Jackson, Seth Allen and Randy Loew. All of them just had great tournaments."
Conyers then fell just short, as they played 45 innings, compared to their opponent Douglasville, who played 22 heading into the final game. Douglasville won 19-12 on Monday.
"Obviously we would have liked to win it, but we didn't and I was extremely pleased with the way we finished," Bagwell said. "We finished with a bang and had Douglasville on the ropes. With just a little more pitching we maybe could have won it, and that would have been surprise of century."