Legion Baseball: Southern breaks it open late
CONCORD — This was not a baseball game that appeared headed for a 10-run rule early finish, but it did.
Perhaps it was the rare monster moon over the center field fence, or a controversial umpire ruling in the seventh, or 12 walks issued by the host team, or finally just cashing in.
Southern Rowan broke open a tight 4-3 game in the seventh inning with seven runs and rolled by Concord Post 51, 15-4 in eight innings Saturday night.
“That’s baseball for you,” winning pitcher Dillon Parker observed. “Things can turn around in a second.”
Southern (10-7, 2-1) stays in contention in the Southeast Division of Area III with a string of critical games coming up in the next seven days and they all count in the playoff race.
“I think if we keep hitting the ball like tonight we can make a run at it and will be in good shape,” outfielder Dylan Carpenter stated.
Carpenter played a big role in last night’s win with a pair of two run doubles, including one in the critical seventh inning outburst.
Southern actually had to rally in this game as Concord (6-10, 0-3) roughed up Parker in the first inning with four hits and three runs to go up 3-1. Josh Chapman’s two run double was the big blow. But Parker settled in and pitched though numerous jams the rest of the way, allowing just one more unearned run. He went seven innings to improve to 2-2, striking out five and walking only two.
“I just warmed up and found my stuff after that first inning” Parker noted. “I just felt like I got better as the game went on.”
Parker departed with the big lead after tossing 111 pitches.
Aaron Bare came on and closed it out in the eighth.
Although it left 10 runners on base through five, Southern managed to squeeze ahead 4-3 in the fourth on Carpenter’s first two-run double. Post 51 starter Collin Sprinkle was effectively wild for the early going but departed in the fifth after 120 pitches. Southern broke through against reliever Blain Hooks in the seventh with the seven runs on four hits and four walks, while sending 12 batters to the plate. The momentum turned when Dylan Goodman and John Daugherty walked to open it and were sacrificed over by Parker Hubbard. Connor Bridges then hit a slow roller toward short that Brett Barrier fielded but threw away into center field, scoring two runs. Concord contended that runner’s interference caused the errant throw but the umps ruled otherwise. That opened the flood gates for five more runs plus another four in the top of the eighth that put it away for good. Tyler Sides’ pinch-hit two-run double was the final blow in the eighth
“We left so many runners on early that I thought it would come back and bite us, “ coach Chris Cauble said. “But our guys really came through in the end.”
There were a number of other standouts for Southern, including Tyler Fuller who played the perfect lead-off man by reaching base six times, four by walks, and scoring four runs.
First baseman Ben Gragg had three hits but also made the defensive play of the game in the fifth when he made a diving stop and threw the runner out at first from flat on his back.
Daugherty also had three hits and two RBI’s for the winners.