From staff reports
Southern Division No. 3 seed Rowan County (26-8) opens the third round of the American Legion baseball playoffs tonight at Burlington-Graham, the top seed in the Northern Division.
Rowan hasn’t faced Burlington-Graham in a playoff series since 2002 when it swept B-G in the Area III finals on its way to the state championship.
This is the key series in the current Legion structure, as the winner qualifies for a berth in the state tournament. The series format is best-of-seven, with alternating home games.
Game 2 of the series will be at Newman Park Sunday night.
Rowan is 6-0 in the playoffs and will likely stick with the pitching rotation that was successful against Mocksville and Mooresville for the first three games ó right-hander Tanner Brown, followed by lefties Zack Simpson and Russ Michalec.
n South Rowan must play the first two games of its third-round series at Randolph, the Northern Division’s No. 2 seed, on the road because the Coastal Plain League, a wood bat summer college league, has All-Star activities scheduled for McCrary Park, Randolph’s home field, on Monday and Tuesday.
South (20-13), the Southern Division’s No. 4 seed, will be at home for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday.
South has taken on the Randoph program twice previously in this round with a state-tournament berth on the line.
South lost 4-1 in 2001 (when Randolph was known as Asheboro) and fell 4-3 last season. Randolph scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the final game of the series last year.
n AAU runners in nationals
Sprinter Payton Russell won the gold medal in the 200 and took silver medals in the 100 and 400 dashes in the recent AAU Junior Olympics qualifier at the University of Tennessee.
Russell, a 9-year-old, competes in the sub-bantam division. She ran 30.47 in the 200, 1:09 in the 400 and 14.46 in the 100.
Russell competes for Sacred Heart in the spring track season and for the Charlotte Heat track club. She is coached by Kim Abdalah at Sacred Heart. Russell’s parents are Tom and Alisa Russell of Spencer.
Marianne Abdalah finished second in the 800 and 1500 in Tennessee. She ran personal-bests of 2:56 in the 800 and 5:54 in the1500.
She is coached by her parents, Dr. Marvin and Kim Abdalah.
Both girls qualified to compete in the finals of the AAU Junior Olympics that will be held at Eastern Michigan.
n Intimidators fall again
The Kannapolis Intimidators lost their fifth straight game on Friday, losing 4-2 to Charleston at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium in front of 2,064 fans.
The Intimidators got a run-scoring double from Christian Marrero in the fourth, and Sergio Morales hit a solo homer in the fifth for a 2-2 tie.
Charleston scored the deciding runs in the sixth.
Starting pitcher Jason Rice had his string of five straight wins snapped.
Justin Snyder went 4-for-4 with two doubles for the RiverDogs.
The teams play again tonight at FCS, with postgame fireworks planned. Call 704-932-FANS or go online to intimidatorsbaseball.com.
n Fans presenting a Time Warner Cable bill at Friday home games receive a dollar off each ticket purchased at the box office.
n Coastal Plain League
Asheboro’s Daniel Wagner, Ryan Query and Alex Fairweather and Forest City’s Wade Moore were named to play in the CPL All-Star Game on July 22 in Asheboro.
Wagner, a former South Roman second baseman who is a rising junior at Belmont, is batting .340 with two homers, 12 doubles, 26 RBIs and 10 steals.
Query, a former A.L. Brown catcher, is a rising senior at Catawba. He’s batting .282 with three homers, eight doubles and 20 RBIs.
Fairweather, also a rising senior at Catawba, has been one of the CPL’s top pitchers. He’s 4-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 55 innings.
Moore, a rising junior outfielder at N.C. State, is a West Roman graduate. He’s batting .294 with one homer and seven doubles. He’s scored 30 runs in 32 games and has stolen 11 bases.
n Minor leagues
New Britain pitcher Zach Ward (A.L. Brown) returned to the bullpen where he’s had a lot of success this season and pitched three innings in a 15-3 victory over New Hampshire on Thursday.
n Lyerly shines
Charlotte 49er Rob Lyerly, whose parents are from Roman County, had two hits for the winning South team in the Northwoods League All-Star Game.
n Local softball leagues
The fall men’s open softball league starts Aug. 4, and the men’s church league starts Aug. 5. Contact Steve Clark at Hall Gym at 704-638-5289.
n South Roman cross country
Anyone wanting to run cross country for South Roman should contact coach Bob Marchinko at 704 855-7165.
The team is now meeting on Mondays at the Corriher-Lipe Middle track and Tuesdays and Thursdays at South Roman YMCA soccer fields.
All practices start at 8:30 a.m.
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