Prep Baseball: Carson 16, North 2
By Mike London
CHINA GROVE ó Carson’s Jesse “Wolverine” Park, a southpaw pitcher, was playing second base in the final inning and smoothly scooped a game-ending grounder.
That Carson had a left-handed second baseman in the game speaks volumes about how thoroughly the Cougars and starting pitcher Nich Glass dominated North Rowan Wednesday in China Grove. Carson won the non-conference matchup 16-2.
The Cavaliers scored the first two runs. Carson (2-0) scored the next 16. The 10-run rule stopped action after 41/2 innings, but they played long enough for 11 different Cougars to register hits.
“This is the best-hitting team we’ve had here,” said Carson left fielder Scott Ashby, who rapped two hits and added a running catch and smart baserunning. “People were coming off the bench and getting hits.”
Even Park, who derives his nickname from the Marvel Comics mutant who has sideburns almost as funky as Park’s, piled on with a solid single during Carson’s eight-run fourth inning.
No definitive word yet on whether Park has retractable claws, animal-keen senses and a body that recovers automatically from wounds ó traits the original Wolverine is blessed with.
Glass’ stout outing was the best news for the Cougars who are 4-1 all-time against North and off to the first 2-0 start in school history.
Glass, a senior, is the younger brother of Lenoir-Rhyne’s 6-foot-6 slugger Zach Glass who starred at Salisbury and for the South Rowan Legion team, but this is Nich’s first real chance to play a prominent role. He pitched only a handful of innings as a junior. Wednesday’s win was his first varsity victory.
“Early in the game, I couldn’t get the right spin on my curveball,” Glass said. “But my last two innings I had it working.”
Glass struck out six, and while he hit a batter, he didn’t walk anyone.
“For his first outing, Glass did a really nice job,” Carson coach Chris Cauble said. “He kept the ball down and we were focused on making the routine plays behind him.”
Both teams stranded runners at third base in the first inning. North got its two runs in the second on hits by Matt Laurens, Matt Mauldin and losing pitcher Dakota Brown. No. 9 batter Mauldin’s double was the key blow.
“I thought getting two runs with two outs might get us started,” North coach Rob Linder said. “But that was about it. We’ve gotta hit better and field better to have a chance.”
Carson answered with a six-run second. Ashby’s double got it started. Joe Basinger, Kyle Bridges and Zack Grkman produced hits before a two-out throwing error ó one of five North miscues ó made it a big inning.
“Dakota Brown is a very good pitcher and will win a lot of games,” Cauble said. “I thought we had some very good at-bats against him.”
Carson tacked on two runs in the third and sent 13 batters to the plate in a wild, eight-run fourth that made it a romp.
Kenny Karriker and pinch-hitter Caleb Wilson knocked in two runs apiece for Carson, and the 16 runs by the team broke the school record.
Carson beat West Iredell 14-4 in 2007 for its previous best offensive outburst.
While all that offense was nice, Glass still nudged out “Wolverine” for star-of-the-game honors.
“Glass was really on,” Ashby said. “Watching those curves drop off from the outfield, I was thinking, ‘Man, that’s really nasty.’ “