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Prep Baseball: North Rowan 11, Lexington 1

By Mike London
Salisbury Post
SPENCER ó North Rowan coach Rob Linder sensed suspicious activity taking place all around him and figured something was up in the aftermath of a highly anticipated 11-1 victory over Lexington.
“I saw Raleigh Watson just standing there next to me,” Linder said. “He’s usually packing his stuff up in the dugout and is the first to get ready to go, so I thought something was probably going on.”
Linder’s suspicions were confirmed a few seconds later when grinning Cavaliers crept up and emptied the cold contents of one of those big orange ice buckets on his drenched neck and shoulders.
Thursday’s lopsided, 10-run rule game was North’s first win of the season after several close calls, and it also was Linder’s first official win as a head coach.
“We thought Coach deserved a bath for his first Cavalier victory,” winning pitcher Dakota Brown said. “It was good to see him get his first.”
Brown had a lot to do with it. The freshman overmatched Lexington hitters, struck out five, walked one and limited the Yellow Jackets (2-8, 0-6) to two infield singles.
Brown allowed an unearned run in the first inning, but he was in control after that. Catcher Parker Graham helped him by picking off two baserunners who strayed too far from first, and strong-armed Billy Veal conducted a clinic at shortstop.
At the plate, North had eight hits, including a triple by Travis Honeycutt and a double by Kyle Munday. Brown, Honeycutt and Patrick Snider had two hits each, as the Cavaliers finally climbed out of the CCC cellar.
“I guess we’ve got ourselves a little streak now,” Linder said with a smile. “It’s not a long one, but it’s a lot better than the one we were on.”
North (1-13, 1-6) hasn’t lost more than 13 games ó in an entire season ó since 1994, so it was tough on Linder when this team started out 0-13.
But it was obvious to anyone who follows North baseball that a rebuilding year was on deck. The Cavaliers graduated a powerful class last spring and the current roster includes just three seniors. Only Veal and Nick Smith, who played second base last night, have been regulars in the past.
“The thing is we’ve been in a whole lot of games,” Linder said. “Now that we’ve got a win under our belt, maybe we can build on it. I feel like we can can be in every game we play from here on out.”
North hasn’t been out of a game yet in the CCC. The losses: 7-4, 5-3, 1-0, 4-1 5-3 and 7-1.
League-leading Ledford broke open its game with North on Tuesday late , and the Cavs recently led second-place Salisbury in the sixth inning.
“We’ve lost a bunch of close ones,” Brown said. “Tonight, we got the extra hits and made the plays in the infield. That’s what it takes, and we’ve just got to take it step by step.”
Beating Lexington isn’t beating Ledford, but it’s a bigger deal than it used to be. Lexington entered the season on a 73-game losing streak, but it’s won two non-conference games and is giving new coach Sam Mackey a good effort.
Lexington still makes mistakes ó the game ended on a dropped flyball, and North picked up one run in Little League fashion ó walk, wild pitch, error, error ó but it was a legitimate baseball game.
Honeycutt’s two-out, two-run single in the first got North started. After Shane Ogg walked, Munday belted a two-run double for a 4-1 lead.

Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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