By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó South Rowan coach Linn Williams kept pinching himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, and Raiders kept circling the bases.
South’s best offensive production last season was eight runs, but it kept the scoreboard busy in a 15-3 romp over A.L. Brown on Tuesday.
The Raiders scored in all five innings. South (2-2) hadn’t scored so often since Josh “Huggy” Hughes went crazy at North Rowan and had seven RBIs in a 16-6 victory in 2005.This sounds absurd, but Daniel Wagner led South in RBIs last season with 10. Freshman second baseman Maverick Miles has nine RBIs the last two days.
“We knew Kannapolis is down a little bit, but we never thought for a second about coming down here and 10-running them,” South coach Linn Williams said. “It’s a rivalry, and you know both teams are going to go at it hard.”
The Wonders (1-2) may have matched South’s effort, but not the Raiders’ execution.
South made routine plays, threw strikes and stole nine bases. A.L. Brown couldn’t make the plays in the field and struggled to throw strikes.
“We didn’t catch it; we didn’t throw it,” Brown coach Empsy Thompson said. “We were 1-for-4 on rundown plays. We gave South extra outs in multiple situations, and they did a good job taking advantage.”The top of the first set the tone at Veterans Field. South turned a bouncing single, a bloop single, two walks, two steals and two errors into three runs against Brown lefty Kenneth Yates, who got no help at all from his defense.
After South right-hander Michael Morgan set the Wonders down 1-2-3 on a handful of pitches, the Raiders made it 5-0 on second-inning RBIs by Ivan Corriher and Morgan.
The Raiders should have been retired 1-2-3 in the third, but a two-out error cracked the door. After a walk, an error on a routine infield bouncer and a two-out, two-run single by Ryan Bostian, it was 8-0, and a mercy-rule game loomed.
The Wonders got their three runs in the bottom of the third on a run-scoring hustle double by Michael Boger and a two-run single by freshman shortstop Wes Honeycutt.
“Michael walked the lead-off man that inning and Kannapolis got back in the game,” Williams said. “But for the most part, he did a nice job. Hold the other team to three runs, and you’ll take your chances every time.”
Morgan’s brother, Andrew, now a senior at UNC Wilmington, was a sensational lefty at South and won 16 games during his last two seasons.
Michael, a junior, notched career victory No. 1. The Raiders hope for many more.
“I feel like I shouldn’t have given up a run, but it’s my first varsity win so it still means a lot,” Morgan said. “Our infield was solid today, we didn’t boot it around, and we’re starting to score a whole lot of runs.”
The Raiders whacked out seven hits the last two innings ó most of them solid.
Justin Lowder had a two-run single in the fourth. Caleb Shore smacked a two-run double in the fifth to push the lead past 10 runs. Miles capped the scoring with a two-run single.
Bostian, a junior shortstop, had a huge day, stealing three bases and scoring three runs. Six different Raiders had at least one steal.
“We’ve got a ton of speed up and down our lineup, and with speed you can do a lot,” Morgan said. “We don’t have to bunt and give away outs. We can just steal the base.”
NOTES: Corriher, a strong student, had to leave at 5:30 p.m. to make an academic speech. Zach Watson replaced him behind the plate. … South plays for a third straight day this afternoon against Northwest Cabarrus at home. … Brown’s lone win was an opening-day thrashing of East Mecklenburg. The Wonders made the plays behind Jacob Wright in that one.
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.
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