Legion Baseball: Mocksville 11, Rowan 7
By David Shaw
Rowan County kissed its six-game winning streak goodbye Friday night ó and there was nothing warm and tender about it.
The locals played rag-tag defense and wasted a decent effort by starting pitcher Tanner Brown in an 11-7 Southern Division loss to visiting Mocksville.
“We didn’t play like we had a (six)-game winning streak,” coach Jim Gantt said at Newman Park, where RC (9-4, 4-4) committed four errors and coughed up a 5-1 lead. “We played like we had a 25-game losing streak. We just had no energy. We couldn’t run home-to-first. And we wasted at-bats.”
Mocksville (8-6, 4-4) had no such problem. Post 54 collected six extra-base hits ó including home runs by Clint Howell and Chris Kinard ó and scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to gain a dramatic come-from-behind win.
“We just had to clear our minds and become after-the-beach Mocksville-Davie,” said winning coach Mike Lovelace. “We always do this. We start out sluggish every year and then get going.”
Brown, who pitched for Wilkes Community College this spring, retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced before withering in the top of the fifth inning. He left with a 6-4 lead after six, having yielded a two-run homer to Howell and a solo blast by Kinard ó both on 1-2 pitches.
“Tanner threw the ball well and pitched a good game,” said Matt Hall, the second of three Rowan relievers. “He got some bad breaks. We got some good breaks, too, but I guess they got a few more.”
Brown was spelled by Kent Basinger, the pitching/hitting star of Monday’s non-league win over Eastern Randolph. This time he struggled, allowing three runs on three hits in just two-thirds of an inning.
Rowan tied the score 7-7 in the last of the eighth when D.C. Cranford ó who earlier cracked his second home run of the season ó legged out a run-scoring infield hit.
Mocksville’s winning rally began when Howell served a soft base hit into center field leading off the ninth inning and took second on a wild pitch. Hall was yanked after walking No. 9 hitter Colby Seaford and replaced by lefty Trey Holmes.
“We don’t locate the ball and don’t get ahead early in the count,” Gantt said. “And then once we get ahead, we tend to make a bad pitch.”
Holmes actually made a pretty good one to Mocksville’s Heath Boyd, who blooped a low, inside fastball into shallow left field to produce the go-ahead run.
“Yeah, I got jammed inside,” said Boyd, a redshirt freshman at Harding University in Arkansas. “But it seemed like their outfielders were playing deep the whole game. It was a bloop, but those are line drives in the books.”
Before Holmes could escape the ninth, Mocksville added runs on Kinard’s double to left, an infield error and DH Seth Miller’s blistering two-bagger off the center-field wall.
“The key to the game,” Lovelace said, “was keeping the damage to a minimum. They had the one big five-run inning, but not much more. And then, of course, we were able to capitalize in the ninth inning.”
Gantt kinda-sorta agreed.
“For us, it was just a bad effort,” he said. “But I don’t want to take anything away from Mocksville. They hit some balls hard.”
NOTES: Rowan had 13 hits, including three by Holmes and two each by Cranford, Hall and Russell Michalec. … RC was missing three starters who are participating in the State Games. … Rowan righthander Billy Veal (1-1, 6.43 ERA) starts tonight’s home game against Concord.
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