Holmes coming back strong
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY ó East Rowan’s Justin Roland, Zach Smith and Trey Holmes had perfect nights at the plate in an 8-2 NPC victory over Lake Norman.
Holmes’ night on the mound wasn’t perfect, but the six strong innings he threw were the most significant aspect of East’s latest win.
Holmes, who is working his way back from a 2007 elbow injury, had better velocity, better command ó better everything ó than he had in his three-inning, five-run stint against Carson last week.
“It’s still not like I’m 100 percent or anything,” Holmes said. “But I closed the gap some tonight. I felt pretty good.”
Kent Basinger, sidelined by a knee injury early this season, is now available in relief and makes a staff that includes Cody Laws (7-0), Corbin Shive (6-0) and Roland (2-0, two saves) that much deeper. Basinger tossed a scoreless seventh on Thursday at Staton Field.
“Basinger looked sharp, and that’s one more dadgum good arm,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “As for Trey, he threw 82 pitches, and he looked good.”
Basinger was scheduled to pitch in relief against Statesville on Wednesday, but the game ended after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
East (17-2, 13-0) was making 10-run rule noise in the fifth again last night, but Lake Norman shortstop Kevin Gradert speared a shot by Noah Holmes and turned it into a double play. Roland didn’t hit a ball squarely in East’s first two games this week, but he looked like his old self against the Wildcats (8-10, 6-7), setting the table from the leadoff spot with two solid hits, two walks, three steals and three runs.
“I worked on some stuff with Coach Hightower and did better today,” Roland said. “We were seeing a lot of junkballs, and some of the guys got too anxious.”
Smith had an RBI double in the first, a sac fly in the third and a two-run single in the sixth.
Trey Holmes had solid hits in all three at-bats, and Micah Jarrett lashed a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the first for a 3-0 lead.
“That was a line drive that never got 10 feet off the ground,” said Trey Holmes.
Jarrett has hit a half-dozen homers, the most by a Mustang since Jason Cauble powered six in 2003.
Lake Norman soph Scottie Williams kept hitters off-balance after Jarrett’s homer, but East broke the game open against the bullpen in the fifth.
“In the second and third innings, we were not so good, just went up there hacking without a purpose,” Hightower said. “But after that, we had better quality at-bats.”
East has won 13 straight, its longest streak since it opened the 2000 season with 14 consecutive wins, and it didn’t commit an error during a 3-0 week. Lake Norman coach Robert Little was impressed with the defense he saw.
“The first inning, we didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to score, and East isn’t going to give you many,” he said. “Holmes made us put it in play, and they’ve got a great defensive team.They’ve got Roland in the middle and an outfield that really covers ground.”
NOTES: Noah Holmes stayed in after he got a bloody nose in a collision. … Eric Manser homered for Lake Norman when Holmes made a 2-0 fastball a little too good.