Before Monday’s game against Rockdale Post 77, the Gainesville A’s held a team meeting to discuss better performance in the second half of the American Legion season.
Whatever was said worked. Following the meeting, the A’s defeated Rockdale 15-9 at Ivey-Watson Field.
“We had a change of mind set tonight,” Gainesville coach Clay Haynes said. “The guys had a team meeting between themselves and decided they wanted to turn it around and start playing as a team, and it showed.”
“We had a lot of leadership tonight,” Haynes said. “From guys that have been around for a while, like Cody Ackerman and Bucky Free.”
The two second-year players were two of five A’s to score twice, but it was a first-year player that led Gainesville on the base paths. Ryan Farmer, who plays high school baseball at the 70-student North Georgia Christian, had four runs scored to lead all base runners.
“The team meeting got everybody fired up,” said Farmer, who was 2-for-3 on the night. “We came out ready to win, and that showed on the base paths tonight.”
Along with Farmer and Free, Max Everitt also had a multi-hit game, as the A’s broke a tight game open with a combined seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Despite efficient run production, the A’s were outhit 14-10 by Rockdale, and didn’t record a hit until the third inning. By that time, Rockdale had already established a three-run lead.
Once Gainesville found its first hit, more followed, highlighted by Free’s RBI double and Andy Edmondson’s RBI single in the bottom of the third.
“The first pitcher (Rockdale) brought out was pretty good, then we started figuring out him and one thing led to another,” Haynes said. “Hits are contagious.”
The A’s took their first lead of the night in the fourth inning off Ackerman’s sacrifice groundout and a bases-loaded walk that scored Luis Delgado.
Rockdale tied the game at five in the fifth inning, with RBI singles from Nathan Fawbush and Micah Jones, but Gainesville countered again with Brad Stone’s three-run home run.
Stone finished the game 1-for-2 with two runs and three RBIs.
The A’s secured the win by taking advantage of inconsistent Rockdale pitching and defensive errors to score five runs in the eighth inning.
“The eighth inning was really big,” Haynes said. “Seems like were up in the late innings. The guys were pretty excited.”
Matt Pilgrim earned the win for Gainesville, pitching 5 1/3 innings with four strikeouts. Delgado and Ackerman protected the lead in relief.
The A’s look to win two in a row at 7 p.m. Wednesday when they play host to Loganville.