South Stanly beats North Rowan
By Marny Hendrick
SPENCER — A disastrous first inning spoiled senior night at North Rowan Thursday as South Stanly scored six quick runs en route to an 11-1 victory.
The top dogs in the Yadkin Valley conference used timely hitting and aggressive base running to build their early lead then capped the night with a monstrous homer by Jordan Starnes to end the game in six.
Freshman southpaw Brandon White got the start for North and quickly learned why the Rowdy Rebel Bulls are leading the YVC at 18-2, 12-1. With one out South had consecutive singles from Russ Weiker, Chase Poplin and Starnes to go up 1-0. Austin Smith then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt for 2-0 followed by a daring steal of home by the 6-4, 245 pound Starnes, a UNC Football signee.
Two more RBI singles and sacrifice fly upped the score to 6-0 before North had even had a chance to bat.
“We just got outworked in the first inning,” North coach Aaron Rimer stated. “White didn’t do that bad of a job, we just didn’t put forth the effort behind him.
White (2-2) lasted just 1/3 of an inning before giving way to senior Travis Holshouser who stopped the bleeding over the next three innings with solid relief work. North (6-7, 9-9) got their only run in the second on a Noah Gonzalez double and a Chance Mazza single but they were frustrated most of the night by Bull’s starter Chase Poplin (7-0).
North left nine on base for the game including two each in the second through fifth frames. Poplin scattered four hits in four innings but did walk two and hit three batters. But each time he faced a jam, he used off speed pitching to notch one of his six strikeouts.
“A lot of his pitches were right around the plate,” South Stanly coach Terry Tucker said of Poplin. “And that’s all you can ask for. Just be around the plate and hit those spots.”
The score remained 6-1 into the sixth inning when the Bulls finally got to Holshouser to allow them to win by the 10 run rule. Holshouser had held them to three hits and no runs in four innings but the sixth was almost as bad as the first.
A couple of errors by the Cavs allowed two runs in then Poplin bounced a double over the fence in center. That brought the imposing Starnes to the plate and he chased Hoshouser with a two-run moon shot to deep left center.
“He is a big boy,” Holshouser said. “I left it up and he took it a long way. Thats a tough loss. We have got to execute and do the little stuff in order to win games.”
Starnes also closed the game out on the mound by inducing a 6-4-3 double play and a line drive out.
“We’re in this game if we just put the ball in play in key situations,” Rimer noted. “It is tough to scrap back if you strike out twice with runners at second and third”
Chance Mazza led the Cavs with two hits and the only RBI of the night. As expected Starnes led the 14 hit Bull’s attack with a pair of hits, three RBI and two stolen bases. Sawyer Lee had three singles while Weiker and Poplin had two hits.
North continues their battle for a play-off spot next Tuesday at second place West Montgomery. South Stanly has a two game lead in the YVC with three to play including Saturday against Chatham Central.