Legion Baseball: South defeats Stanly
By Mike London
LANDIS ó South Rowan second baseman Maverick Miles changed direction at just the right time, and so did his team.
Pitcher Cam Park, Miles, shortstop Matt Ingold and first baseman Brett Huffman combined on a remarkable 1-4-6-3 double play that keyed South’s tense 2-1 victory over Stanly County on Monday.
Stanly (8-12, 7-10) generated little offense against Park, a slick southpaw, but pinch-hitter Colten Burris’ double gave the visitors runners at second and third with one out in the eighth. South coach David Wright ordered an intentional pass to Bradley Love, who had singled twice, to load the bases.
South was looking for its third double play, but the batter, Jordan Sells, a lefty hitter who runs well, didn’t look like an ideal candidate.
Sells rapped a groundball up the middle. Miles was striding toward the second-base bag to cut the ball off when Park’s glove deflected it. As the ball caromed behind him, Miles applied the brakes and headed back where he came from.
“My feet went sliding out from under me, but I still was able to grab the ball,” Miles said. “I didn’t think there was anyway we could turn two, but I slung it to Ingold.”
Ingold’s play was equally good ó flying through the air, with a runner bearing down, he had the ball for less than an instant, but he unloaded a strike. Huffman stretched to nip the runner, and South (12-9, 8-6) escaped the inning.
“That play still had me pumped up when I went out there for the ninth inning,” Park said.
Park gave up one hard-hit single in the ninth ó Stanly’s seventh hit ó but Wright stayed with him, and Park nailed down the last two outs on long flyballs.
“They were in the heart of their order,” Wright said. “But Cam had handled the heart of their order.”
On paper, Park is South’s No. 6 starter, but he is 3-1. It was also his seventh career win. Only four pitchers have won more often in the program’s 13-year history.
Park struck out only two, and the intentional pass in the eighth was the only walk he issued.
“We hit a lot of balls hard, but we’ve been looking for that big hit all summer and still haven’t found it,” Stanly coach Marko Little said. “The pitchers threw well for both teams. South just ended up getting a better break ó that double play in the eighth ó than we did.”
Stanly scored an unearned run in the first inning. South got it back in the bottom half when red-hot Ryan Bostian singled to left-center against Adrian Sheppard and hustled to second when the ball was bobbled in the outfield. Weston Church singled Bostian home.
Bostian scored the decisive run in the fifth. He singled with one out, stole second and scored when Miles’ two-out popup down the right-field line fell just out of reach of three converging Stanly players.
“I was sure it was gonna be a foul ball,” Miles said. “I guess the wind blew it back.”
Reliever Nathan Furr got Stanly out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh, but two runs was all Park needed.
“I threw to contact,” said Park, who got 13 outs on groundballs. “Our defense did a heck of a job.”
After lots of rain and tough losses, South won for the first time since June 21. It needed this one.
“It’s good to get one in and good to win one,” Wright said. “Offensively, we took way too many called third strikes, but Cam was great. He gave us a chance.”