Heart to heart leads to wins

The Covington News - - Sports - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

Be­fore fac­ing Daw­sonville, the Post 77 base­ball team gath­ered for a team meet­ing.

The Amer­i­can Le­gion base­ball team based out of Rock­dale, but con­sist­ing of play­ers through­out the area, was fresh off de­feats of 11-6 and 13-8 to Tuscaloosa, Ala., three days ear­lier and things looked bleak. Coach Demarco Hamm gath­ered his team for a “heart to heart.”

“The guys were get­ting back af­ter the loss to Tuscaloosa and we wanted to bounce back and get the ball rolling again,” Hamm said. “They re­sponded very well.”

Post 77 was hit­ting the ball well in both losses to Tuscaloosa, but it was noth­ing com­pared to Satur­day’s rout of Daw­sonville, 27-10, on the road.

Cameron Rags­dale knocked out two home runs and Cole Mur­phy and Keith Buck­hault had one each, with Mur­phy driv­ing in six RBI. For­mer East­side stand­out Jake Wright went 5 for 5 with a triple as Post 77 broke it open in the third in­ning. Rock­dale trailed 2-1 go­ing into the frame, when it poured on eight runs in the top half of the third.

Later, lead­ing 15-7, Rock­dale cast aside any doubt with a five-run sixth in­ning. Daw­sonville scored three of its own in the bot­tom half of that frame, but it was for naught as Rock­dale’s lead was al­ready in­sur­mount­able. Post 77

fur­thered that case with seven runs in the top half of the fi­nal in­ning.

The pitch­ing also did its job, al­low­ing just five of the 10 runs as earned with Josh Smith and Cole Hamil­ton on the mound.

Casey Shu­bert fol­lowed Hamil­ton and Smith’s per­for­mance Sun­day in help­ing Rock­dale de­feat Lo­ganville 10-1 in its last game be­fore the Fourth of July break.

“Casey Shu­bert pitched an ex­cel­lent game,” Hamm said. “I couldn’t even put into words the good job he did.

“He pitched ex­cel­lent against Lo­ganville, and we only pulled him out of the game in the sev­enth in­ning be­cause of pitch count; oth­er­wise he could have gone the full game.”

Rags­dale fin­ished the game off af­ter the game’s fi­nal score was al­ready on the score­board.

Play­ing a key role in that score was Wright, who went 3 for 4, Cole Mur­phy and Zach Bai­ley with a home run and three RBI each, and Musashi Briem with two RBI and a dou­ble.

While the runs flew on the board in Satur­day and Sun­day’s wins, it was his team’s re­sponse to the pre­vi­ous losses that most pleased the first-year le­gion head coach.

“The guys weren’t too happy with the losses,” Hamm said. “In hind­sight, I think it was a good thing to keep them re­ally fo­cused.”

Post 77 re­turns from the break at Al­pharetta Mon­day be­fore re­turn­ing home against Can­ton July 11 and the Rene­gades July 13.

“We’re about to start play­ing a lot of base­ball with not too many breaks in be­tween up un­til the state tour­na­ment,” Hamm said.

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