Legion Baseball: Rowan drops non-division game
By Bret Strelow
ASHEBORO ó To say Rowan County could have defeated division-leading Randolph County isn’t a stretch, although Russell Michalec did pitch from it.
Rowan scored once in each of the final two innings Monday at McCrary Park but fell 4-3 to Randolph, which sits atop the Northern Division of Area III.
Randolph (18-3) pushed across single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings against Michalec, who didn’t use a windup delivery for a change.
Rowan’s Zach Smith, who produced the team’s first run with a fifth-inning double, cut Randolph’s lead to 4-2 with a solo home run in the eighth.
Micah Jarrett reached on an error to begin the ninth, and pinch-hitter Justin Mock drew a one-out walk. Josh Trogdon’s second wild pitch of the inning put runners on second and third during an at-bat by Billy Veal, who hit a sacrifice fly. Smith popped up to end the game.
“You’re unhappy that you don’t win,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said, “but if you get beat by a good team and it’s pretty well-played and well-pitched and a good baseball game, you can live with that.”
Only three runs were earned against Michalec in 62/3 innings, and he limited the damage against a dangerous lineup.
Randolph’s first two runs scored on sacrifice flies, and solo home runs accounted for the final two.
“(Michalec) kept the ball down, stayed away from their barrels and just threw a good ballgame,” Rowan first baseman Trey Holmes said.
Steven Davis’ third-inning RBI would have been the third out rather than the second one had a fly ball not been dropped in the previous at-bat. Michalec stranded two runners in that frame.
Nolan Seawell homered against Rowan (15-6) with two away in the fourth inning, and Josh Hohn hit a laser into the trees beyond the left-field fence to open the bottom half of the fifth.
“I thought Michalec was outstanding,” Gantt said. “He pitched like he’s capable of. He made a couple bad pitches, and if you do that against a good hitting team like Asheboro, they’ll make you pay for it.
“I was real proud of what he did. I thought he showed some guts. At times he gave up a home run and got a couple runners on ó the bad play in left field where we dropped the fly ball ó and it could have rattled him in the past. He hung in there tonight.”
Michalec walked four batters, but he displayed better control thanks to an adjustment suggested by pitching coach Zach Snyder.
“Snyder changed me up, got me pitching from the stretch all the time now, and I think it’s helped me stay in command,” Michalec said. “They hit a couple balls pretty hard ó I didn’t see one of them go out ó but that just happens.
“Snyder works hard with us, and it’s worked out real good.”