Short­handed Post 77 fin­ishes third in South­east

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

Demarco Hamm’s first sea­son as Post 77’s man­ager was Rock­dale’s most ac­com­plished, yet it wasn’t what it could have been.

The Amer­i­can Le­gion base­ball team out of Rock­dale fin­ished third in the South­east Re­gion, af­ter fall­ing to Ashe­boro, N.C., 17-5 in the semi­fi­nals Sun­day, its high­est re­gional fin- ish ever.

How­ever, Hamm feels the true re­sult of what the game could have been can now never be known.

Rock­dale, which had just four losses prior to the re­gional tour­na­ment, had just 11 play­ers in the semi­fi­nals against Ah­se­boro.

Post 77 was so short­handed it needed to use pitch­ers as po­si­tion play­ers. That con­trib­uted to a lot of field­ing er­rors.

On the mound, Rock­dale had to use pitch­ers who haven’t thrown reg­u­larly, lead­ing to walks and hit bats­men, eras­ing the fact that Post 77 had just one hit less than North Carolina (12-11).

“They were a good team, but I re­ally can’t give a real ac­cu­rate es­ti­mate of how we could have com­pared, be­cause we didn’t have a full com­ple­ment,” Hamm said.

“But the score re­ally didn’t in­di­cate how good we were. I feel if we had ev­ery­one, it would have been dif­fer­ent.”

Post 77 also lost to Ashe­boro in the open­ing game of the re­gional tour­na­ment, suf­fer­ing its only shutout de­feat of the tour­na­ment. Rock­dale ral­lied, de­feat­ing Florida in the elim­i­na­tion bracket, be­fore beat­ing Kentucky 13-4 to reach the semi­fi­nals.

How­ever, sev­eral of Rock­dale’s play­ers had to re­turn to school, in­clud­ing Ge­or­gia state tour­na­ment MVP Cole Mur­phy. Cameron Rags­dale, Zach Bai­ley and Eric Smith also weren’t avail­able for Rock­dale in the semi­fi­nal loss to Ashe­boro.

“I re­ally think we could have had a shot at win­ning the whole thing if we had a full com­ple­ment of play­ers,” Hamm said.

Rock­dale will lose seven play­ers to the Amer­i­can Le­gion’s age re­stric­tion, in­clud­ing Mur­phy, Evan Al­der­man, Zach Bai­ley, Eric Smith, Tyler Ma­han, Keith Buck­hault and Jake Wright.

“We had a good group of kids,” Hamm said. “No mat­ter what the sit­u­a­tion was, we al­ways fought hard. That’s what I can take away from the sea­son; they never quit.”

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