So after losing the opening game of the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association’s 8-and-under state baseball tournament in Vidalia, the team, managed by Joey Harpe, won three games two days in a row to pick up a state championship.
Along with Rockmart’s 10-and-under All-Stars’ state championship run, the two teams represent the first state championships for any team from Rockmart Little League.
Rockmart’s 8-and-under team led Swainsboro 2-0 until the sixth and final inning when they gave up four runs and lost 4-2.
That put the Jackets in the losers’ bracket, meaning six wins in a row in order to win a state title.
On Friday, July 8, Rockmart run-ruled Washington County, defeated defending state champ Dublin 13-11 and then got revenge on Swainsboro by edging out a 7-6 win.
The next day, the Jackets started off with Thomasville, a top team that had gotten beaten by host Vidalia the night before.
“In my opinion, Thomasville was the second best team up there,” Harpe said. “We told the boys that if we beat Thomasville then we would for sure win state.”
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Rockmart scored a run and had the tying and winning runs on when Caedyn Robinson ripped a ball down the left field line and to bring in both runners and win the game.
Robinson “had the hit of his life,” Harpe said. “He won’t ever in his life have a more important hit than that one right there.”
That win put Rockmart in the championship game with Vidalia, who the Jackets would have to beat twice in order to win the tournament. They did just that, winning 5-2 and 8-5.
“I gotta say this team is made up of a bunch of scrappers,” Harpe said. “Just when you think they are down, they come through and never give up.”
Harpe also thanked all the parents and people of Rockmart that donated money to make the trip possible.