Younger Holmes propels Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By Mike London
CLEMMONS ó Too bad you can only play one third baseman at a time.
Noah Holmes started at the hot corner for Rowan County and went 3-for-3 with two RBIs to spark a 9-2 victory against Western Forsyth on Monday.
Ganttís other option at third base, veteran Justin Mock, is batting .450.
Holmes arrived late for Legion with the rest of his East Rowan teammates and also missed a few nights because of his involvement in the State Games, but heís a smoking 14-for-24 (.583) when heís been in uniform.
Holmes has unleashed a flood of hits and hasnít always done things in twos like the Biblical Noah. He had four hits in a win against Mocksville.
iI donít know that Noah is as athletic as his brother (three-sport standout Trey), but heís a gamer and heís a ballplayer,î Rowan coach Jim Gantt said.
Holmes, a rising junior, went 3-for-8 at the State Games and obviously has a bright future.
iI was nervous at State Games because it was the first time Iíve really had scouts watching me,î Holmes said. iBut it was a great experience.î
Rowan (12-4) has had great experiences in almost all of its non-division games. Itís 7-0 outside the division while scoring tons of runs.
A pitching committee came through in a game scheduled for seven innings. Starter Parker Gobbel, winner Cody Laws and finisher Kent Basinger threw strikes and let their defense work in a fast-paced game. The two runs Rowan allowed were the fewest its surrendered all season.
iAll those guys pitched well and that made it easy to play good defense behind them,î Noah Holmes said.
Gobbel gave up two first-inning runs on Cedric Colemanís two-out single to right, but he settled in after that.
Laws threw three shutout innings. Basinger yielded two walks, but even those free passes didnít rile Gantt.
iKent kept everything down, and if youíre gonna miss, miss down,î he said.
Gantt was encouraged by a more energetic effort than Rowan produced in Sundayís sluggish slugfest with Montgomery. The defense was very sharp, with Trey Holmes scooping several balls at first base and shortstop Justin Roland and second baseman Philip Miclat making all kinds of plays.
The key point in the game was the bottom of the fifth when Western Forsyth, trailing 5-2, had back-to-back singles to open the inning. But Laws got a strikeout before Rowan turned a terrific 6-4-3 double play when hard-hitting Jeff Gonza hit a high chopper to Roland.
iWe got out of that jam as good as you possibly can,î Gantt said. iMiclat had a runner bearing right down on him, but he jumped through him and had enough arm to finish the play.î
Trailing 2-1 early, Rowan took a 3-2 lead in the second when Austin Shull singled, and Noah Holmes and Zach Smith raced home when the ball got past the left fielder.
Doubles by Billy Veal and Noah Holmes keyed a two-run third for a 5-2 lead. Rolandís 44th career double ó he needs four for the all-time record ó helped boost the lead in the sixth. Shullís two-run homer to right-center in the seventh provided a nice cushion.
iRowan is obviously a different team now that theyíve got the players from East,î said Western Forsyth coach Kevin McIntosh, whose team lost 11-10 earlier at Newman Park. iUp the middle, theyíre as solid as it gets.î