Rowan County and South Rowan start the second round of the American Legion playoffs tonight at home. Both will entertain an opponent fans really didn’t expect to see.
No. 5 seed Lexington’s three games to one victory over No. 4 Stanly County was a bigger upset than it sounds. The teams tied for fourth, but Lexington, which lost several star players to other baseball endeavors during the summer, appeared to be sinking when the regular season ended. Lexington (20-9) was second most of the summer but settled for the fifth seed after back-to-back losses to South Rowan.Lexington rallied to beat Rowan in extra innings at home and also built a 7-1 lead at Newman Park before letting it slip away in a 12-7 setback.
Lexington’s pitching isn’t as deep as Rowan’s, but coach Matt Griffin has kept his guys plugging along.
Probably Lexington will use lefty Daniel Sechrest (3-5), a pitcher Salisbury and North Rowan fans will recall for his strong work at Central Davidson, in the opener. Ace Clay Watson, a bulldog North Davidson right-hander with a 4-2 mark, is the likely Game 2 hurler. Central’s Nathan Dunn (4-1) is probable for Game 3.No. 1 seed Rowan (29-2) will likely send Keegan Linza (7-0), Cy Young (6-0) and Lee Dupre (5-0) to the mound in the first three games. The three veterans are a combined 49-10 in their Legion careers.
Lexington’s offense offers a formidable challenge and has out-homered Rowan 41-23. North Davidson masher Daniel Kassouf, headed to Belmont Abbey, has hit 10 home runs. Central Davidson products Matt Tysinger (.414) and Chaz Frank (.400) are tough outs. Alex Grubb, West Davidson’s biggest stick, missed the game at Newman Park and several others when he was on a church mission trip, but he’s back now. He checks in at .380 with seven homers.
Zach Roach is the wild card. The former West Davidson outfielder doesn’t have big numbers, but he is really hot. He whacked three homers in the playoff series with Stanly.
No. 7 seed Concord (13-15) shocked the Legion world by knocking off No. 2 Mocksville three games to two.
Coach Ron Bost’s team showed tons of character to rally after losing a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to John McDaniel in Game 1 and dropping the first two games of the series to fall into a steep hole.
Shane Reedy, Bubba Plott and Jamie Hatley swing big bats for Bost.
Concord won twice at Mocksville’s Rich Park, so it won’t be phased by starting the series at third-seeded South (20-9). Concord lost 5-4 at South and 7-3 at Central Cabarrus High during the regular season. Daniel Wagner’s three-run homer was the key blow for South at home. At Central, Walker Snow and Rudy Brown homered to back Chase Deal’s pitching.
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