By Nick Bowton
LANDIS ó South Rowan coach David Wright liked his team’s pitching for the most part Friday night. He liked the defense and the way some late substitutions contributed, too.
Wright didn’t like giving up an early grand slam and losing 8-4 to Mooresville in South’s American Legion opener, but he said this part of the season isn’t about just wins and losses.
“When we’re in these non-league game situations, we’re gonna throw a lot of people,” Wright said. “We’re gonna do a lot of things. I thought overall we played well. We made a lot of moves, tried to get some guys some swings, just looked at some different scenarios.
“All in all I’m pleased. I’d like to have won on the scoreboard, but I’d rather win those games when they’re league games.”
With a game against an Area III South opponent not counting in the league standings, both Wright and Mooresville coach Josh Graham wanted to use plenty of players last night. Wright used four pitchers and 14 batters. Graham used three pitchers and 13 batters.
Both teams had flashes of good play, but Mooresville had an easier time emptying its bench after it build a 5-0 lead in the top of the second.
South pitcher Jordan Lowder struggled with control from the beginning, as he hit the second batter he faced. Lowder was going to pitch three or four innings, but he gave up a grand slam to Nathan Abraham in the top of the second and didn’t return for the third.
Lowder’s struggles led to Chase Deal’s first live action since the 2006 Legion season.
Ranked fifth in South history in career batting average, Deal was one of the team’s best pitchers last season as well. He didn’t play in college this past season but kept in shape by practicing with South Rowan High, and Wright said he hopes Deal can be the team’s third starter behind Rudy Brown and Walker Snow.
“I was actually nervous,” said Deal, who had 48 strikeouts last season. “I didn’t throw good at all in the bullpen. I was bouncing balls all over the fence back there. I really didn’t know what to expect when I got out there.
“It just kind of goes back into remembering all of your mechanics and everything.”
Deal seemed to remember everything pretty well. He pitched three innings, allowed one run and struck out six batters.
In all, South’s four pitchers struck out 12 Mooresville batters. South just couldn’t do much on the offensive end.
Post 185/146 had five hits and another seven runners reach base on walks, but it stranded 12 runners on base. Ryan Bostian hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second, and South scored three runs in the seventh when C.J. Neal had an RBI single and Jeremy Mullis had an RBI triple and then scored on a passed ball.
Mooresville already led 8-1 by the top of the seventh, so South never seriously threatened after its early deficit.
“It was pretty tough, but we had nine innings so we should have came back,” Bostian said. “I like the way we played defensively. We just need to get the bats swinging a little more, get some more hits on the board.”
Added Wright: “We put kids out there, wrote a lineup out. That lineup will change some again Monday night. It may even change some Tuesday. It’s all a work in progress.”
Contact Nick Bowton at email@example.com.
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