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Peeler Easter Classic Baseball first round: East Rowan 11, Forbush 0 (5 innings)

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
East Rowan’s Preston Troutman hit a first-inning grounder to the right side, and leadoff man Ben DeCelle stayed on his feet as he attempted to beat the throw to second base.
The ball bounced away from Forbush shortstop Jarrett Mullins, so the speedy DeCelle took off for third. He slid into the bag, and an errant toss went into East’s dugout.
“The field was a little wet, so it was a little hard to run, but they made a couple of bad throws,” DeCelle said. “It felt like you were running on a beach out there. We’ll have to get some training in sand because I was a little worn out.”
DeCelle trotted home with the game’s first run, and a wave of Mustangs continued to circle the bases.
East scored six runs in the first inning and four more in the second while claiming an 11-0 victory against Forbush on Saturday in the opening round of the Cliff Peeler Easter Tournament.
Cody Laws pitched all five innings for the Mustangs (10-2) and retired 15 of 17 batters.
“We went up there and were trying to be aggressive hitting the ball,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “They couldn’t throw their best because they have conference games like we do, but we were fortunate to be able to throw one of our best.”
Forbush (7-4) didn’t record an out until a sacrifice fly from Robbie Ijames produced a 6-0 lead, and 13 of East’s first 18 batters reached base.
The first of two doubles by David Ijames gave the Mustangs a 2-0 advantage, and back-to-back wild pitches allowed Zach Smith and Ijames to score. Noah Holmes’ triple knocked in Corbin Shive, and Robbie Ijames followed with his RBI flyout.
DeCelle’s 270-feet adventure put the rout in motion.
“That’s got to be part of our gameplan every day going in,” Hightower said. “Hopefully our speed pays off.”
Laws, who plunked No. 3 hitter Adam Saunders in the first inning, struck out five batters in the opening two frames. He finished with nine strikeouts, and the only hit against him was a third-inning single.
“He kept the ball down and located well,” Hightower said. “It helps out tremendously when you work ahead in the count. He did that 90 percent of the time, and the guys played good defense behind him.”

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