Prep Baseball: West tops South
By David Shaw
LANDIS ó Friday night felt a lot like Thanksgiving Day at South Rowan High School. Everybody was coming home.
A marquee pitching matchup was anything but and by game’s end, only visiting West Rowan was wheeling out the dessert cart.
“It was pretty crazy,” Brantley Horton said after West carved out a chaotic 12-10 NPC victory. “I’m just happy we won and we’re still in good position to make the playoffs.”
The Falcons (13-10, 8-9) won for the fourth in five games and locked into fifth place in the league standings. They’ll close the regular season Monday at Mooresville.
“This helps us out a lot,” said winning coach David Wright, “because it puts pressure on other teams.”
One of those is South (16-7, 10-7), now mired in its first two-game losing streak of the season. “We wanted the No. 3 seed,” said SR coach Linn Williams. “Now it looks like we’re destined for fourth.”
South concludes its conference season Monday at North Iredell.
“It’s aggravating,” said losing pitcher Ryan Bostian (5-3), the right-hander who brought a 1.52 ERA to the mound and was waxed for six earned runs in three-plus innings. “I was hoping we’d blow them out. Now we’ve just got to hope for the best.”
Bostian left with two runners on and none out in the third, shortly after yielding a two-run single by West’s Dustin Davis that tied the score 6-6.
“I wasn’t uncomfortable,” Bostian said. “It was just that they hit the pitches I threw.”
Winning pitcher Zack Simpson didn’t fare much better. The left-handed sophomore allowed six runs on six hits, walked six and threw a couple of wild pitches in 41/3 eratic innings.
“I don’t think Zack was crisp,” Wright said after Simpson improved to 6-2. “But there have been a lot of games when we were almost able to sit down in the field, he was so good.”
Part of the problem was a plate umpire who had a strike zone the size of an ipod. South’s frustration boiled over in the top of the fifth inning when Williams was ejected for arguing a balk call against reliever Jordan Lowder ó an infraction that gave West a 10-6 lead. Assistant coacah Thad Chrismon took over and will be at the helm while Williams sits out the Raiders’ next two games.
West’s victory wasn’t secured until the game’s final pitch. But first South inched within 10-9 in the sixth when Caleb Shore turned a misplaced 1-0 pitch from D.J. Webb into a three-run home run.
“It felt good and got us back in it,” said Shore. “I was just lucky to have people on when I came up.”
Half-an-inning later WR’s Tyler King returned the favor. He blasted a no-frills fastball from Lowder over the left-field fence for a decisive two-run homer ó his second of the year.
“Actually this one I knew was out,” said King, who also went deep April 11 at Northwest Cabarrus. “It was 2-and-oh, so I was just looking for a fastball after he got down in the count. And that’s exactly what I got.”
The last of the seventh provided some closing-scene dramatics. South cut its deficit to 12-10 when Bostian ówho went 4-for-5 with two RBIs ó steered a two-out, run-scoring single up the middle. With two runners in scoring position, Shore was called out on a game-ending, 3-2 pitch. Webb said it slid across the outside corner. Shore had a different view.
“The first strike was in there. I’ll give him that one,” he said. “The second one was six inches outside and so was the third. Maybe I could have fouled it off, but in that situation I would have taken a walk.”
Wright simply shrugged his shoulders. “(The umpire) had his zone,” he said. “He was tight, but he was tight both ways.”
Contact David Shaw email@example.com.