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Mustangs rout Warriors 15-1

By David Shaw
Salisbury Post
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan isnít threatening to run away and hide, but it is trying to turn the NPC derby into a one-horse race.
The front-running Mustangs improved to 9-0 in conference play after whipping West Iredell 15-1 in five innings Tuesday night at Staton Field.
iWeíre taking it game-by-game and inning-by-inning,î coach Brian Hightower said after East (13-2 overall) banged out 14 hits and earned its ninth straight victory. iThe guys are being real professional about coming out here, doing their jobs and executing what weíre trying to do.î
East played a near-flawless game against the last-place Warriors (3-8, 1-8). Unbeaten right-hander Corbin Shive delivered four sharp innings and won his fifth game. Trey Holmes busted out of a mild, mid-season slump with a pair of extra-base hits and six RBIs. And  Ethan Fisher, the No. 8 hitter in Eastís lineup, belted his first varsity home run ó a two-run shot that gave the Mustangs an 11-1 lead in the fourth.
iEthan Fisher ó you canít call him a power hitter,î Holmes said. iThatís questionable. But he took a good cut and got one.î
Holmes got a couple himself.  He lined a two-run double to right-center, helping ER jump to a 4-0 first-inning lead against West Iredell junior Hunter Dishman. An inning later he launched a sacrifice fly to center that plated teammate Zack Smith with the Mustangsí fifth run. Then in the last of the fourth ó when East scored six runs on six hits ó he turned a bad at-bat into a productive one by crunching a three-run triple to center against West reliever Garrett Fesperman.
iI took a first-pitch strike and was battling from there on,î said Holmes, who connected on a 3-2 pitch. iI remember I chased one and wasnít being real patient. Finally, I got one I could get the bat on.î
Defensively, East played errorless ball behind Shive, who baffled WI with three effective pitches. He worked quickly and efficiently, yielding just two hits and two walks and firing first-pitch strikes to 11 of 16 batters.
iI was just throwing strikes,î he said. iNot trying to overpower anyone. I just wanted to use the defense to get outs.î
East reliever Kent Basinger got the final three with a perfect fifth inning.
iThis is a great group of guys,î Hightower said. iThey kid around a lot, but when they get between the lines itís all business.î
West coach Buck Gatton agreed.
iTheyíre not undefeated in the conference by coincidence,î he said. iTheyíre a heck of a team, and they put on a clinic tonight.î
NOTES: ERís Micah Jarrett went 3-for-3, scored four times, drove in two runs and stole two bases ó and boosted his average to .511. … Sophomore third baseman Noah Holmes ó Treyís younger brother ó made the defensive play of the game when he snared Chase LeVanís third-inning grounder and rifled a throw to first.
Contact David Shaw at dshaw@salisburypost.com.

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