Bulldogs roll into second round

CONYERS -- It was Taylor Johnson's night Wednesday in Conyers, Of course, her teammates weren't too shabby either. Johnson drove in a run in each of her first five at-bats, and seven others had RBIs as Rockdale cruised to a doubleheader sweep of Douglas County, winning 13-1 and 10-0 in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.

Rockdale (18-14) advanced to the second round for the first time since the sport switched to a best-of-three format for the opening rounds in 2009.

The Bulldogs jumped on top in Game 2 with two runs in the second on Johnson's RBI double and a run-scoring groundout from Kayla Dean, then opened things up in a four-run third. Breanna Richardson, who was a home run short of the cycle, roped a three-run triple and Johnson followed with a triple of her own to make it a 6-0 game. Johnson had her consecutive RBI streak end with a sacrifice in the fifth, but Danielle Turner had the final of her four RBIs with a groundout to put Rockdale up 7-0.

The hosts broke open a close opener with four two-out runs in the third. After starter and losing pitcher Gabby Godfrey struck out the first two batters, five consecutive Bulldogs reached base, beginning with Candace Johnson's opposite field double. Richardson walked, and on ball four Johnson scooted home to put Rockdale up 3-1. Taylor Johnson's run-scoring single was followed by Turner's RBI double, and Turner scored when Kaila Hans couldn't handle Maiya Welch's ground ball at second.

Douglas County (7-24), the No. 3 seed from Region 3-AAAAAA, grabbed the first lead of the afternoon in the first inning of the opener. Neysa Nelson walked to start the game and scored on an error. That turned out to be the only run the visitors could muster. Rockdale took the lead for good the next half inning as Candace Johnson's RBI groundout and a triple by Taylor Johnson.

While the offense was busy scoring, Miasia Mayer was limiting the damage in a pair of complete game victories. The sophomore allowed 18 base-runners in the two games (nine reached on walks), but just three hits in 10 innings pitched. In Game 2, Douglas County had a runner thrown out after a relay throw to the plate led to an out on a rundown, third baseman India Davis robbed Hans of a potential run-scoring single, and Mayer picked up four of her five strikeouts in the final three innings to help strand six base-runners.