Legion playoffs: Concord 11, South Rowan 5
By Bill Kiser
CONCORD ó Playing on a wet ballfield was the least of South Rowan’s concerns Wednesday night.
No, South has a lot more to worry about after losing to Concord Post 51 11-5 and evening up their Area III-Southern Division playoff series at 1-1.
Just two days after putting up some big numbers in beating Post 51 in the first-round series opener, fourth-seeded South Rowan (16-11) now finds itself having to fix both its offensive and pitching woes.
While Post 185-146 put runners on base thanks to 12 hits, they had problems getting those runners home, stranding 11 baserunners ó a figure that South head coach David Wright said was the difference.
“We just left too many people on base,” Wright said. “From the first inning on, we had scoring opportunities and we hit the ball well.
“If we could have produced tonight, it would have been an entirely different ballgame.”
Three players ó Maverick Miles, Weston Church and Brett Huffman ó had two hits apiece for South Rowan, and Randy Shepherd belted a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning.
South’s scoring problems began in the first inning, when it loaded the bases with no outs. However, Concord got out of the inning unscathed with a pair of strikeouts by starter Cody Walker and a fielder’s choice groundout.
“That first inning was big,” Wright said. “I don’t care who’s pitching, they’re going to get a lot of confidence out of that, especially after a night when they give up 16 runs.”
Walker went on to get the win, striking out nine and giving up three earned runs in seven innings.
Then there was South’s other problem ó stopping Concord from getting on base and scoring.
Post 51 had 14 hits and stranded 13 baserunners, but they were also helped by seven walks, three wild pitches (one which led to a run) and a balk (which also scored a run).
Starter Zach Wright took the loss, giving up six runs and three walks in four-plus innings. Alex Ingold allowed two walks in 11/3 innings, Scott Ashby had one walk, the balk and two wild pitches in 12/3 innings, and Dylan Walker also gave up a walk.
“That’s way too many walks,” David Wright said. “And that’s not counting all the times we got behind hitters.
“Still, it’s just one game. We’re still in good shape pitching-wise. We’ve just got to swing it better. The night before last, we were able to do that. Tonight we weren’t.”
NOTES: Wednesday’s game started nearly two hours behind schedule because of a heavy rainstorm that came through the area about an hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. start time. … Game 3 in the best-of-five game series will be played at 7 p.m. today at South Rowan High School in Landis.