Prep Baseball: East Rowan 10, Mooresville 1
By Mike London
MOORESVILLE ó Corbin Shive looked everywhere for teammates to slap hands with after he jogged around the bases, but they treated him as if he had the mumps.
Shive, who hit two homers and pitched six shutout innings on Tuesday, looked bewildered for a moment, but he figured it out when several teammates struggled to keep straight faces and cracked devious, giggling smiles.
Shive was getting the old silent treatment because he was so good in East’s 10-1 victory at Mooresville it was ridiculous.
“These guys have a fun time and give each other heck, doing things like hiding keys at practice,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “But on the field, they’re business-like ó and they’re talented.”
The Mustangs (15-2, 11-0) officially separated themselves from the NPC pack with their wipeout of the second-place Blue Devils (14-3, 9-3), who won the league last year when East was in 4A.
Right now, the NPC is East and nine other teams. The Mustangs have won 11 straight since their pitching got healthy, and now they’re hitting balls over the fence. Besides the first two-homer game of Shive’s life, Austin Shull and Zach Smith went deep. East’s four homers came off four different arms.
“Give East credit,” Mooresville coach Jeff Burchett said. “They just stood in there and ripped it. We’ve had a really good season, but this was disappointing. It’s the first time all year someone’s just thumped us like this.”
Little things led to a loud thumping. If the setting sun hadn’t been glaring right in the face of Mooresville catcher Aaron Meadows in the first inning, East goes down 1-2-3 against hard-throwing Chris Beaver.
Beaver fanned three straight, but strike three to leadoff man Justin Roland got by the catcher, and Roland reached. After Trey Holmes walked with two down, Shive crushed a 3-1 delivery over the left-field fence for a 3-0 lead.
“It was a little hard to see, but not on that pitch, I guess,” Shive said. “I got into a good count and was looking for a fastball on 3-1. I got it.”
Smith’s two-out single in the second knocked in Ben DeCelle to make it 4-0, and any chance Mooresville had of changing momentum disappeared when Shull, East’s catcher, fired to Noah Holmes to pick a Blue Devil off third base in the third.
“I noticed the runner was getting a longer lead than he should,” Shull said. “Noah and I communicated well. When you do that, things happen.”
It was all over when Smith greeted reliever Chris Bonaventure with a three-run homer to right-center for a 7-0 lead in the fourth. The Mustangs hit for the cycle in the fourth, with Micah Jarrett clubbing a triple, Trey Holmes stinging an RBI double, and DeCelle beating out an infield single.
Shull homered to make it 9-0 in the fifth. Shive connected for the second time in the seventh ó a no-doubt bomb that triggered the silent treatment.
“Just a little fun and games,” Shull said. “We all like to give Corbin a hard time.”
Shive pitched little early, as he recovered from a sore shoulder, but he is now 6-0, matching teammate Cody Laws’ glittering record.
Shive mixed an upper-80s fastball with a nasty, late-breaking curve to baffle a lineup full of good hitters. Aubrey Meadows battled him long and hard in the first inning, spoiling a half-dozen 0-2 pitches, but Shive won that tussle with a high fastball, and most of the ones that followed.
Roland, the closer, pitched the seventh and allowed his first earned run of the spring on a Dylan West homer.
But it was East’s night, and it’s been East’s month.
“We were very focused,” Hightower said. “Our guys knew the swing here was a one-game lead or a three-game lead and they were ready. Corbin’s homer in the first was huge. With a three-run cushion and your best on the mound, you feel good.”
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.