Legion Baseball: South Rowan 4, Lexington 2
By David Shaw
email@example.comLEXINGTON ó South Rowan spent nine innings bottling magic on Friday night.
Simply put, Post 185/146 played its best postseason game at Holt-Moffitt Field, where it trimmed host Lexington 4-2 and clinched its second-round series.
“You play all summer to get to the state playoffs,” winning pitcher Weston Church said after South (21-13) advanced to face Randolph County in the third-round beginning tonight. “And now, just in time, we’re starting to click on all cylinders.”
SR rallied from a 2-games-to-1 deficit to win the best-of-five playoff from regular-season champion Lexington (24-9). On Thursday it withstood a ninth-inning charge by Post 8 and escaped with a series-tying 9-6 win. Last night South received top-shelf pitching from starter Ryan Bostian (four shutout innings), tightrope relief from Walker Snow (two scoreless innings) and timely, two-out RBI hits from Church and Scott Ashby to beat Catawba-bound Lexington ace Clay Watson.
“We had a couple of big two-out hits,” catcher Ivan Corriher said after collecting a pair of singles. “The two games we lost up here, we didn’t do that. Tonight we got ’em. It showed that we can really battle.”
Winning coach David Wright took it a step further.
“This is the same team that hit seven home runs against us and had us 18-0 in the fourth inning,” he said. “So yeah, we had to bounce a lot of things around the regular season that may have kept us from playing for the top. But from Day 1, I’ve been saying, ‘If you want to make the playoffs, come to play every day and good things will happen.’ Now we’re playing better as a baseball team and that’s most important.”
So was scoring the game’s first two runs after two batters had been retired. South drew first blood in the top of the second inning when Corriher lined a 3-2 pitch into right field, advanced to second when Lexington misplayed a tailor-made double play ball and scored on Ashby’s base hit to left.
An inning later, Maverick Miles spanked a two-out double to the right-center gap and crossed when Church steered a grounder into left.
“We didn’t get those hits early in the series,” said SR shortstop Matt Ingold. “At least, we didn’t when we needed them.”
Bostian, meanwhile, perservered on the mound despite a pulled muscle on his side. He yielded four hits, struck out three and retired eight of the last nine batters he faced.
“He went out there and gave us what he could,” said Wright. “It fell into place for us tonight.”
Church (5-0) relieved and allowed two fifth-inning runs ó one was unearned ó before slamming the door. Ingold blooped a single to left and scored the go-ahead run on Randy Shepherd’s sacrifice fly in the sixth. Then, in the seventh, Caleb Shore played insurance man by cracking a solo home run.
The rest was up to Snow, the fireballing right-hander who mopped up in the eighth and ninth innings and earned his sixth save.
“I’ve had arm problems all year,” he said afterward, his arm and side packed with ice. “There comes a time when you’ve got to step it up for your team.”
South’s postseason parade now heads to Asheboro’s McCrary Park for Games 1 and 2 tonight and Sunday. The winner of the best-of-seven third round series will qualify for the state tournament beginning Aug. 4 in Gastonia.
“We’ve got kids with tired arms and kids with tired legs,” said Corriher, one of several SR players sporting new Mohawk haircuts. “But we’re going up to there to Randolph County and giving them our best.”
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