Salisbury nips North
By Mike London
North Rowan senior Billy Veal had every reason to kick pickle buckets and scream at the sky, but he took the high road.
Veal became the stateís best 0-4 pitcher when the Cavaliers lost to Salisbury 5-3 in a CCC game at Robertson Stadium on Wednesday. He went the distance, struck out 10 and even had a 3-2 lead going to the bottom of the sixth when the second-place Hornets (12-4, 5-1) finally pulled the game out.
iJust the same old song,î Veal said quietly. iI thought we had it once again, but at the same time, Iíve got a lot of respect for Salisbury. Alex (Britt) came in and pitched awesome, and they got the hits when they needed them.î
Salisbury coach Scott Maddox felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
iIf thereís a uniformed policeman here, he can arrest me right now,î he said. iWe just stole a ballgame. North has been one break away from winning games and probably should have won tonight.î
North (0-12) has lost all five of its CCC games by three or fewer runs, and the team has made progress weekly.
iThatís what I keep telling the guys,î North coach Rob Linder said. iBut that still hasnít got us any wins. Billy pitches another great game tonight, but he gets another loss he doesnít deserve.î
Veal would like to have at least one pitch back ó a first-inning fastball that Robbie Ijames knocked over the center-field fence and nearly to the moon with Russell Michalec on base.
iBillyís got a great curveball, but Russellís a fast runner and can steal, so I was thinking I might get a fastball,î Ijames said. iI got it.î
North tied it in the second when Kyle Mundayís two-out hit scored Travis Honeycutt and Shane Ogg.
Michalec started on the mound for the Hornets, but Britt took over in the third, escaped a jam, and began matching zeroes with Veal.
Northís defense made the plays, including a sliding catch in short right field by second baseman Dakota Brown in the fourth, and it was still 2-2 going to the sixth.
Two-out hits by Munday and Patrick Snider gave Brown, Northís leading hitter and leadoff man, a chance to swing, and he put the Cavaliers ahead 3-2 by slapping an opposite-field double on an 0-2 pitch from Britt.
But North didnít get to cut down any nets.
Robbie Ijames walked to start the home sixth. After he advanced on an errant pickoff throw, he scored the tying run on a single by David Ijames, who sped to second when the ball was bobbled in left field.
After David Ijames swiped third, Ben Ijames delivered one of those hits thatís been killing the Cavs. His blooper right over first base put the Hornets ahead 4-3.
iWeíve got the infield in, and if the infield is back there, thatís probably a pretty routine play,î Linder said. iBut thatís just how baseball is.î
Frankie Cardelle, who went 2-for-2 and reached base three straight times out of the No. 7 spot in the lineup, rapped a solid single to move Ben Ijames to third.
iWe were up against probably one of the best pitchers weíve seen all season,î Cardelle said. iBut weíve talked a lot about getting production from the bottom of the lineup. Tonight, we did.î
Ben Ijames scored the Hornetsí fifth run on an odd play. Salisbury failed to execute on a suicide squeeze, but when North returned the favor by failing to execute on a rundown, Ijames slid home safely.
After Britt (4-1) mowed the Cavaliers in order in the seventh on a routine grounder and two strikeouts, the Hornet owned a hard-earned win and Veal was saddled with one more tough loss.
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.