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Legion Baseball: South Rowan 14, Statesville 0

By David Shaw
Salisbury Post
LANDIS ó Friday night’s game with visiting Statesville was nothing but a good time for South Rowan’s American Legion baseball team.
Post 185/146 opened a 10-run first-inning lead en route to an abbreviated 14-0 win.
“This is not a knock, but realistically, I thought we should have done this,” coach David Wright said after third-place South (9-5, 5-2 Southern Division) earned its third straight win. “That’s the offensive production I’ve been looking for ó when guys get in a zone and we get ahead in counts and get aggressive.”
SR pounded 13 hits into the balmy air, including 3-run homers by Caleb Shore and Randy Shepherd.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t get more,” said Shore, who went 2-for-4 and knocked in four runs. “We were all pretty disciplined at the plate, swinging at only good pitches and making good contact.”
Statesville (2-8, 1-7) was cooked after one inning in South’s oven. The hosts sent 13 batters to the plate, collected seven hits and scored 10 times against starting pitcher Brandon Wiggins and Michael Krueger, the first of four relievers.
“They were patient at the plate and hit the ball hard,” said losing coach Terry Levan. “Everything they could have done, they did well.”
Statesville was limited to three hits by South starter Weston Church (2-0) and reliever C.J. Neal. Church was more resourceful than scary in five innings. Relying on a dipsy-doodle curveball, he fanned three and threw first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 23 men he faced. But he also uncorked two wild pitches and hit three batters.
“I could throw any pitch on any count,” Church said. “I threw backwards a lot and got a lot of popups on curves.”
Wright indicated the pitching was decent, and added, “Weston got behind some guys, but he fought his way back in the zone. Once he got ahead, he could throw more breaking balls and got them to commit early. They really didn’t hit many balls hard against him.”
When they did, South’s Ryan Bostian would make routine robberies in center field. He made a diving catch on Casey Pharr’s fourth-inning line drive and ran down Cody Clanton’s 390-foot smash in the sixth.
But Bostian’s best position may have been the batter’s box. He reached base three times, drove in a couple of runs and was part of a double steal that triggered South’s first-inning attack.
“It felt good,” said Shore. “Everyone in the lineup, top-to-bottom, contributed.”
Shepherd capped the evening when he crushed a 1-2 pitch from Statesville’s Lane Marlowe over the the fence in left-center in the last of the fourth.
“He just left a curveball hanging,” Shepherd said. “I know I had two strikes on me, but I saw (the pitch) out of his hands and jumped on it.”
South now shifts its attention to tonight’s division matchup against Rowan County at Newman Park. Wright will give the ball to right-hander Walker Snow (0-1 with three saves).
“If we go out there with the same mindset as tonight,” said Shepherd, “and hit like we did tonight, we have a good chance.”

NOTES: Bostian signed with Montreat College in a short pre-game ceremony. … Maverick Miles went 3-for-4 with an RBI single.

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