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Legion Baseball: Mocksville 8, South Rowan 1

By Mike London
Salisbury Post
MOCKSVILLE ó South Rowan, Mocksville and Randolph County studied pitching arms and got an idea what they’ll be putting on the field this summer in a lengthy American Legion round robin at Rich Park on Saturday.
Mocksville beat Randolph 12-11 in extra innings and handled South 8-1 in a seven-inning nightcap that began after 8 p.m. In between Mocksville’s wins, South lost to Randolph 9-3.
South was more competitive than it sounds. It led Randolph in the fifth and trailed Mocksville 3-1 in the sixth.
“We were mixing, matching, finding out what’s best,” South coach David Wright said. “I don’t know that I looked at the scoreboard once all day, but all in all, I’d have to say I was pleased.”
South experimented with position changes. Maverick Miles was at third base, Ryan Bostian was in center field and Caleb Shore was in right.
South’s lineup will change some more when Catawba’s season ends. Weston Church, a Catawba freshman who was 2007 Rowan County Co-player of the Year when he was slugging and pitching for Wright at West Rowan, will be joining the South squad.
Church led Rowan County Legion with a .408 batting average, nine homers and 64 RBIs last year, but NCAA rules prohibit Church from playing for his college coach (Jim Gantt) in the summer.
“What Weston needs now are regular innings and regular ABs, and I’ve told Jim we can give him that,” Wright said.
Besides South Rowan High and Carson players, Wright has West Rowan’s Brett Huffman and 2007 high school graduates Church, Walker Snow, C.J. Neal and Ivan Corriher.
“This was like a test run, and I liked what I saw,” Shore said. “We looked solid in the field. Randy (Shepherd) and Walker Snow pitched well. We’ll be fine.”
Shore homered, doubled and singled in four at-bats against Randolph.
“My first swing of the Legion season was a homer,” Shore said with a grin. “That’s a pretty good way to start.”
Carson’s Scott Ashby also homered for South against Randolph, and he made a terrific catch as he crashed into the left-field fence against Mocksville.
“That ball was hit right over my head, so I didn’t know which way to turn, but I kept running,” Ashby said. “On the homer, I got a low inside fastball. It felt good. I haven’t hit one in a long time.”
In the interests of safety, base coaches are now required to don batting helmets. Wright wore a bright red one, and Mocksville’s Jake Koontz, who played for Wright at West, cheerfully informed Wright he resembled a firefighter.”I thought it was a pretty good look for me,” Wright said with a laugh.
Mocksville coach Mike Lovelace was also smiling. Bryan King was the hero against Randolph. Against South, Mocksville got homers from Seth Miller and Zach Russell-Myers and sharp pitching from Surry’s Corey Norman and Wilkes Community College’s Justin Kidd.”I don’t have any idea how good we’ll be or if we can be in that top tier again,” Lovelace said. “We have 19-year-old leadership and a pretty solid lineup, but pitching depth is the question mark.”
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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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