Legion playoffs: South romps in opener
By David Shaw
LANDIS ó South Rowan played Powerball in its postseason opener Monday night ó and hit the jackpot.
Post 185/146 belted five home runs in an abbreviated 16-5 win over visiting Concord, firing the first volley in this best-of-five, first-round series. Game 2 is scheduled tonight at Central Cabarrus High School.
“Maybe the drought period we had was good for us,” coach David Wright said after South earned its third straight victory. “I don’t know if this is really our game, but it has been the last couple of nights. And we’ll take it.”
South (16-10) has clubbed eight home runs in its last two games, boosting its season total to 28.
“It’s those pep talks we get right before those at-bats,” center-fielder Ryan Bostian said. “I get mine from (teammate) Randy Shepherd.”
“And I get mine from Dylan Walker,” cracked South’s Caleb Shore.
Whatever was said, it must have included the phrase that pays. Bostian went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer ó his first of the season ó and a two-run double. Shore fought his way out of a 2-for-18 slump with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and a solo shot in the third.
“Caleb was really struggling for a while,” said Wright. “The last couple games, though, I’ve seen him take better swings at the plate and sort of get that look that a coach can see, a look that says, ‘I’m more comfortable now.’ That’s a good thing.”
Shore gave South a 4-0 lead in the first when he deposited a 1-2 fastball from right-hander Garrett Furr over the fence in left-center field. Then after Concord (13-12) rallied to tie the score with four third-inning runs against winning pitcher Cam Park, Shore put SR ahead for keeps with a first-pitch homer to left.
“(Furr) really didn’t throw that bad,” Shore said after raising his batting average 20 points to .312. “He just a left a few up. And hitting’s contagious.”By the end of the third inning, South had Concord’s ace in a hole. Switch-hitter Brett Huffman and outfielder Scott Ashby each singled to left against Furr (4-1) before Bostian cleared the bases with a sizzling two-run double into the left field corner.
“He didn’t have his location, but if we’re gonna go far in the playoffs, he’s gonna have to help us out,” Concord coach Ronnie Bost said. “South really swung the bats tonight. I know there’s a short porch here, but some of those were no-doubters.”
Two innings later Bostian whacked a 3-2 pitch from reliever Kyle Kiker over the left-field fence for a 10-4 lead. SR’s Shepherd and Maverick Miles added rub-it-in, two-run homers in the last of the sixth.
“They were serving them up all night,” Bostian said.
The beneficiary of all the electricity was Park (4-1), the lefty who was more spit than shine. He pitched a seven-inning complete game and surrendered 10 hits. More significantly, he induced 12 groundouts.
“He’s given us a lot of innings in the past week,” Wright said. “And to be honest, we’ve gained a lot of confidence in Cam. He stayed in the zone, and we made plays behind him.”
Bost was also impressed with Park but strongly believes this series is far from over.
“It doesn’t matter who wins the first game,” he said. “It’s who wins the last game. And our guys are all pretty resilient. They’ll bounce back.”