Prep Baseball: Salisbury’s Myers mashes East
GRANITE QUARRY — Baseball is a team sport but someone forgot to tell that to Salisbury’s Riley Myers on Wednesday night.
The Hornet sophomore righty tossed a complete game six-hitter and capped it off with a seventh-inning grand slam to lead a 6-1 victory over East Rowan. On a frigid night at Staton Field, the Hornets (2-3) held a slim 2-1 lead most of the game behind their defense and Myers’ pitching before breaking it open late against the NPC leading Mustangs (4-4).
Myers (1-0) was thrilled with his grand slam but felt his pitching was key to the win.
“That is what kept us in the game,” he said. “The home run helped but you win baseball games by pitching.”
Salisbury also took advantage of some uncharacteristic errors by East Rowan to take an early 2-0 lead. Two infield errors and a sacrifice fly by Parker McKeithan gave the Hornets a 1-0 lead in the top of the first off Mustang starter Harrison Bell.
McKeithan also drove in the second run with a sharp single to left in the third. East responded in the bottom of the third with a Hunter Brooks double and a two-out single to left by Michael Caldwell to make the score 2-1. It remained that way until the top of the seventh when Myers helped his own cause with a line shot to deep left off East reliever Josh Gobble.
“I am proud of the team because we needed a breakthrough win.” Hornet coach Scott Mattox stated. “It was a good team effort but Riley more or less took care of business by himself tonight.”
He also had praise for junior Skyler Mikkleson, normally a second baseman, who did a highly effective job at catcher for the game. Freshman Alex Yang filled in with an errorless effort at second despite a broken throwing hand.
Salisbury also had a big defensive play in the fifth from left-fielder Ben Ritchie when his perfect relay throw to the plate nailed Mustang Chase Jarrett with the potential tying run.
The Hornets missed a couple of chances to expand their lead as they left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth, stranding 12 for the game.
“We’ve got to do a better job of being selective with the bases loaded,” Maddox said.
East coach Brian Hightower had a similar view of the late dramatics. “We pitched out of jams all night but they finally made us pay.”
He also made it clear that Riley Myers was the difference in the game.
“I think he really competed and gutted it out,” Hightower said. “You’ve got to tip your hat to him for an outstanding job on the mound.”
Myers noted that all three of his primary pitches — fastball, curve, change-up — were working well as he struck out six and walked only one.
“It was just a big win for us,” Myers said. “and beating East means a lot to me and our team.”
The Hornets will have little time to celebrate the win as they continue their nonconference journey tonight with a trip to West Rowan.
East gets back into North Piedmont league action on Friday with a trip to North Iredell. The Mustangs lead the NPC with a 3-0 mark after their big win over West on Tuesday.