Legion Baseball: Mooresville 11, South Rowan 1
By Mike London
MOORESVILLE ó The bleachers weren’t full at Mooresville, but they may be soon.
The Moors, whose most recent Legion glory days came when they knocked off Kernersville for the 1990 Area III championship, beat South Rowan 11-1 in eight innings on Sunday behind the sharp pitching of lefty Nick Lomascolo.
With a Charlotte 49ers coach pointing a radar gun, Lomascolo struck out 12, walked one and worked seven innings in oppressive heat to outduel South’s Randy Shepherd.
“Lomascolo is a good, smart pitcher,” Shepherd said. “He got ahead of all our hitters and then made ’em chase stuff away.”
Shepherd was super for six innings ó seven whiffs and 11 groundouts ó but once he exited, the Moors erupted against South’s bullpen.Some tabbed Mooresville (9-3, 7-0) as the Southern Division favorite, and it has lived up to the hype by beating three aces ó Lexington’s Clay Watson, Kannapolis’ Ryan Overcash and Shepherd ó the last three nights.
“We were sleepwalking the early part of the season, but we got the breaks and still won ballgames,” Mooresville coach Josh Graham said. “Then the kids woke up. The Lexington game against Watson, we knew that would be a good measuring stick for us. Now we’ve seen two more good arms in Overcash and Shepherd, and we got the job done.”
The Moors scored in the first on two-out infield hit, a walk and Garrett Braun’s single, but Shepherd mowed them down the next four innings.
South finally tied it 1-1 in the sixth when Ryan Bostian blistered a double to right-center and scored when he stole third and the throw got away.
It didn’t stay tied long. In Mooresville’s half of the sixth, Sam Allen became the first hitter to get a ball into the air against Shepherd. His soaring drive left the park in right-center for a 2-1 lead.
South coach David Wright, who was ejected late, said his team didn’t produce.
“We didn’t execute pitching-wise against Rowan on Friday and didn’t execute on the offensive side tonight,” Wright said. “It’s no mystery what happened. We let Lomascolo stay in the game, and that’s a quality kid, no doubt.”
In the third, South (9-7, 5-4) had runners at second and third with two away and Weston Church, its biggest stick, was at the plate. With a base open, Lomascolo could have pitched around Church, but he got ahead with a curve and two changeups and struck him out with a high fastball.
“I didn’t have my good fastball until the later innings,” said Lomascolo, who works in the 85 mph range. “I threw a lot of curveballs and my changeup was my best pitch. Against Church, I was able to get ahead. Then I threw a fastball when he was looking for anything but a fastball.”
Lomascolo kept nearly all of his 115 pitches down, and only Bostian, who ripped two doubles, had any success.
Trailing 2-1, South had its last chance in the seventh when Brett Huffman’s single, Joseph Basinger’s walk and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out.
Lomascolo got behind Scott Ashby 2-0, but came back to strike him out on a curveball. Then he struck out Matt Ingold on his last pitch of the night.
Shepherd fell behind Brantley Horton 2-0 to begin the bottom of the seventh and was lifted in favor of Alex Ingold. Nathan Abraham’s double made it 3-1, and the Moors went on to score six runs.
A three-run eighth, highlighted by Dylan West’s towering, two-run homer, ended the game by the 10-run rule.
“We’ve played more games than anyone,” Wright said. “I’m tired, we’re all tired, but now we get a long break.”
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.