F&M Baseball Classic: Jarrett helps East Rowan end skid
KANNAPOLIS — East Rowan pulled a few dents out of its wreck of a season Friday, thanks largely to Chase Jarrett.
The junior right-hander pitched the Mustangs to a surprisingly easy 10-1 victory over Mount Pleasant in the F&M Bank Classic.
“Any win’s a good win,” Jarrett said at CMC-NorthEast Stadium, where East (6-9) curbed a three-game losing streak. “But this was especially big. We all felt good today.”
They should. East, which was blanked by J.M. Robinson on Wednesday, jumped to a 5-0 lead in the top of the third inning. And Jarrett — a 6-foot-4, 210-pound workhorse who likes to work the corners — made it stand up by fanning the first four batters he faced and five of MP’s first six.
“The best thing he did,” explained East catcher Luke Setzer, “was work ahead in the count. He kept coming up big on 0-2 pitches and 1-2 pitches. He really competed and did the job.”
Jarrett (2-4) ran out of gas after five innings, but gave the Mustangs enough distance to prevail. He finished with eight strikeouts, five walks and yielded three hits.
“He mixed in a good fastball, good curve and spotted it up real well,” said ER coach Brian Hightower. “And when you work ahead like he did, you’re a much better pitcher.”
East didn’t crush any pitches offered by Mount Pleasant starter Blain Hooks or the two relievers who followed him. But it showed a knack for timeliness in collecting eight hits.
“We’ve been playing badly lately, but everything went right tonight,” Hightower said. “We ended up scoring in every inning but one. We came out, got some fastballs to hit and finally did something with them.”
Exhibit A came in the top of the first, when Hunter Brooks doubled and Dustin Ritchie singled home the game’s first run.
In the second Setzer had a run-scoring hit and in the third, the Mustangs capitalized on two hit-batsmen, two wild pitches and a base on balls to plate three runs without the benefit of a hit.
“Timely hitting is always big,” said Setzer, who also produced a late-game run on a sacrifice fly.
Hunter Poston’s infield hit in the fifth gave East a 6-1 lead and infielder Mike Caldwell scored on an error in the sixth. Then in the seventh the Mustangs busted out of their stalls with three more runs — including two on Caldwell’s none-out double down the left-field line.
“We got people on base and got them in,” Hightower noted. “We did a good job with the bat. We capitalized on a couple of misplays they had, but we had some timely, two-out hits as well.”
Junior Connor Johnson sealed the deal with a dominant relief stint. He struck out five in two innings, including three straight in the bottom of the seventh.
“Connor’s a great pitcher,” Jarrett said afterward. “But so was Setzer today. He called a smart game.”