South Legion rolls
By Mike London
ALBEMARLE ó With eight innings in the books, Ernie Faw, South Rowan’s original American Legion coach, packed up his stuff and headed for the parking lot with a satisfied smile.
Like the rest of South’s fans, Faw was thrilled to be bored. South wins occasionally at Stanly County, but no one remembered a victory quite as routine as Tuesday’s quiet, 8-2 decision.
It was the first league win for South (4-4, 1-1). Stanly is 1-3 in the Southern Division of Area III.
The victory lifted South to 14-24 lifetime against Stanly and 7-13 in Albemarle.
“It always does seem to be difficult against Stanly, but Ryan Bostian did a great job on the hill for us,” South coach David Wright said. “Tight strike zone ó thought we might be here until tomorrow ó but Ryan kept his composure well.”
South took control early on Caleb Shore’s two-run, first-inning double, and Bostian kept his team in charge despite six walks.
“Once I got past that first couple of innings, I was fine,” Bostian said. “I just had to get used to the zone and figure out what pitches I was going to be getting.”
Stanly’s first inning was pivotal. Bostian allowed a leadoff walk and three singles, but escaped with one run and a 2-1 lead. Catcher Ivan Corriher gunned down a would-be basestealer and Shore caught a liner in center to end the inning.
“Ryan wasn’t as sharp as the last time he pitched up at Randolph County, but for him to get through that long first inning with just one run scoring was big,” Corriher said. “We stayed in the lead, and we kept it.”
South scored three unearned runs in the second for a 5-1 lead. The key to the inning was J.D. Bare’s perfect bunt toward third with two on. When the bunt was mishandled, South had the bases loaded with none out.
Matt Ingold’s walk scored a run. Corriher’s double-play grounder got a run home, and Weston Church’s bloop single made it 5-1.
Corriher’s single and Church’s double down the left-field line pushed South’s lead to 6-1 in the fifth, and Maverick Miles scored Church with a sac fly.
Leading 7-2 in the sixth, Bostian threw his most important pitch with the bases loaded and two outs. A disputed call at second base had prolonged the inning, but Bostian got Tanner Furr to pop up routinely to second baseman C.J. Neal to end the inning and Stanly’s last chance to make things interesting.
Ingold walked three times. South had 10 hits. Church, Shore and Miles got two hits each while Corriher slapped three singles.
Corriher, a student at North Carolina who returned to baseball about two weeks ago, has five hits in his last two games.
“I hit a little during spring break, but I didn’t get to work on baseball as much as I wanted to,” Corriher said. “But I’m starting to get my timing back. So far, I’ve exceeded my expectations.”
Bostian, who worked seven innings, has allowed one earned run in 141/3 innings.
He hasn’t signed with a college yet, although Montreat coaches chatted with him last night as he joined his teammates for postgame pizza.
Bostian, a fine outfielder when he doesn’t pitch, didn’t bat last night, as South employed Miles as the DH.
“I love to hit, but when you’re not swinging and running bases, you definitely don’t get as tired,” Bostian said.
There was more good news for Wright when Randy Shepherd entered in the eighth and threw two scoreless innings with the help of South’s second and third double plays.
Shepherd hurt his right thumb last week when he was hit by a pitch, but the hard-throwing Carson ace has been cleared by doctors and is ready to return to the rotation.
NOTES: Stanly’s Montgomery Park now has a grass infield. … Stanly turned three double plays in the first three innings. … There were 14 walks in the game. … South is home against Wilkes Friday.
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.