F&M Classic: Salisbury comes through late for the win
KANNAPOLIS — They call it late-game-execution — and Salisbury’s baseball team showed how it’s done Wednesday night.
The Hornets scored all of their runs in the final two innings at CMC-Northeast Stadium, where they rallied for a 5-4 win over A.L. Brown in the F&M Bank Classic.
“We didn’t give up,” first-baseman Chance Bowden said after Salisbury squared its overall record at 6-6. “After it took us until the sixth inning to put anything on the board, we wouldn’t quit.”
Coach Scott Maddox indicated there were many to thank for this victory. Winning pitcher Riley Myers, a right-handed sophomore, navigated his way in and out of trouble before finishing with a complete-game three-hitter. Bowden, a .400 hitter through 12 games, delivered a two-run double in the top of the sixth and an RBI double an inning later. And senior shortstop Brian Bauk, still nursing a slight back injury, went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice and a couple of runs scored.
“Even Justin Ruffin, who runs the bases for us, he got us going,” Maddox said. “After five innings we were dead in the water. But he got them together and said, ‘It’s too long a game to sit out here and not give an effort.’ And that rallied the guys.”
A.L. Brown (2-11) was coasting behind hard-luck loser Eldon Peters, a quick-working southpaw who struck out five and scattered three hits through five innings.
“He was accurate,” Bauk said. “Busting us up and on the outside corner the whole game.”
A.L. Brown scored single runs in the first and second innings — each on a changeup that got away from Myers (3-1).
“They just didn’t come out right,” he reported after throwing four wild pitches. “I kind of spiked them. It’s a hard play for a catcher.”
SHS tied the score in the sixth when Myers — who retired 11 straight batters at one point — and Bauk crossed the plate on Bowden’s two-base hit to right-center field.
“Peters struck me out the first two times up,” Bowden explained. “And after the second time I had to sit down and re-focus. There was still a lot of ballgame left.”
The Wonders regained the lead with a pair of unearned runs in the last of the sixth, but Salisbury answered with three in the top of the seventh.
Skylar Mikkelson singled and scored on Bowden’s second double. Then Bauk came home on a fielder’s choice and Bowden scored the go-ahead run on Ben Ritchie’s groundout.
“That’s been the story of our season,” said A.L. Brown coach Empsy Thompson. “We play everybody tight, just not well enough to win. But give them credit. They put the ball in play — and when that happens, other people make mistakes. Tonight that was us.”