Legion Baseball: Concord 11, Rowan 4
By Bill Kiser
CONCORD ó Rowan County head coach Jim Gantt isn’t going to complain about the players missing from his American Legion team’s lineup.
Still, Rowan could have used those arms and bats Saturday night, as Concord Post 51 romped to an 11-4 win in both teams Area III-Southern Division opener.
Despite leading twice early, Rowan could not overcome a six-hit, 15-strikeout complete game by Post 51 pitcher Garrett Furr, giving up a dozen hits and committing four errors and other mistakes against Concord’s more-experienced lineup.
Rowan (1-1, 0-1) dressed just 12 players for Saturday’s game, with a number of prospective players still involved with East Rowan’s run through the state 3A playoffs.
“They’re not here, and that’s good for them,” said Gantt, who was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a balk call against Russell Michalec. “I hope they win the state championship.
“But we kicked it around too much, especially with guys in scoring position, and our pitching wasn’t very effective. They hit, and their pitcher did a very good job, especially when we got men on base.”
Still, Rowan stayed with Concord (2-2, 1-0), going ahead 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning on Billy Veal’s 3-run home run, and leading 4-3 in the top of the fifth when Luke Thomas scored on Philip Miclat’s RBI single.
However, both times Concord responded. Post 51 tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth on Cody Wacker’s leadoff homer and Dylan Fulk’s RBI single. It assumed the lead for good with a three-run outburst in the fifth.
Concord tacked on three more runs in the sixth and two in the seventh inning.
Veal (0-1) took the loss for Rowan County, entering in relief of starter Tanner Brown with two out in the bottom of the fourth and the score tied at 3-3. While the righthander struck out five, he also gave up six hits and six earned runs in 21/3 innings.
Brown also gave up six hits and three runs (two of them earned) and struck out two, while closer Michalec gave up two unearned runs over the final two innings.
NOTES: Gantt will have to sit out Rowan County’s home opener at Newman Park on Monday night against West Forsyth. … Veal was the only Rowan batter to get more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. … Wacker and Furr each had three hits for Concord, with Wacker driving in four runs.