Prep Baseball: Mooresville 4, Carson 2
By Mike London
MOORESVILLE ó Carson’s baseball team climbed a little more on the respect meter but fell a bit more in the NPC standings on Wednesday night.
The Cougars fell at Mooresville 4-2 in a battle for third place despite a strong effort by tall right-hander Will Misenheimer who kept the Blue Devils off the scoreboard the first five innings.
“I just do what I can,” said Misenheimer, a submariner who arguably has been as effective as any hurler in Rowan County this season. “It was the defense behind me more than anything.”
Mooresville hitters would argue with him. They had their hands full on a cold evening. Misenheimer stayed down in the strike zone, and the Blue Devils (11-3, 8-2) whacked groundballs. Carson (10-4, 6-2) made the plays until the sixth when it surrendered four runs.
“Misenheimer’s motion is funky and his ball sinks,” said Mooresville pitcher/slugger Aaron Meadows who signed with Catawba as a catcher. “We didn’t hit him much at all.”
Mooresville lost at Carson 9-5 on March 12, a score that initially spread shock and awe around the NPC. More than a few fans thought newspapers had reported the score backwards. Some speculated that a sleepy sportswriter had had one too many.
People know better now. Now people know who Misenheimer, Tyler Freeze, Zack Grkman and the rest of the Cougars are. Everyone’s figured out by now that Carson’s one of the better teams in a strong league.
“Carson’s young, but they’re solid, not bad at all,” Meadows said. “The first time we played them we didn’t show up. Tonight, we knew we had to get them back and we were ready. Believe me, we wanted to 10-run ’em but you don’t always get what you want.”
Meadows struck out the side in the first, but Freeze’s double and Joseph Basinger’s single made it 1-0 in the second. Carson had the bases loaded, looking for a big inning, but Meadows got Kyle Bridges to rap into a double play.
“Aaron gritted it out there when Carson had a chance to bust it wide open,” Mooresville coach Jeff Burchett said.
An error allowed Grkman to reach leading off the third. When Julio Zubillaga sacrificed, Grkman, who runs well, advanced all the way to third when the Blue Devils were slow covering the bag. Gunnar Hogan’s groundout got Grkman home, and Misenheimer had a 2-0 lead to work with.
But the Cougars missed chances to score in the fourth and fifth, and it came back to haunt them later.
“A big difference in the game was Mooresville put the ball in play with runners at third base while we struck out,” Cauble said. “It was two good teams going at it. One capitalized; one didn’t.”
The home sixth was decisive. Nathan Abraham singled to left. With a hit-and-run on, Billy Nantz hammered a pitch to right, and Blue Devils were at the corners. Then Nantz swiped second.
Meadows was next. Misenheimer made one more great pitch, and Meadows tapped weakly toward charging third baseman Patrick Bearden. It was a tough play that turned disastrous when Bearden’s off-balance throw got past Bridges at first base. Two runs scored. The game was tied.
Carson made two infield errors on the next swing, and Mooresville led 3-2. Dylan West’s double and Ian Walters’ RBI groundout made it 4-2 before Misenheimer could end the inning.
“I was real impressed with how we played until the sixth,” Freeze said. “Will kept the ball low and had a lot of success. We should have won for him.”
Nantz, the catcher, aggravated a thumb injury. Meadows replaced him behind the plate, and Walters closed things out with the help of a 4-6-3 twin killing.
Burchett, who team has won nine of its last 10, breathed a sigh of relief.
“Carson’s a scrappy bunch with a lot of life,” he said. “We only had one inning, but it was enough. Sometimes that happens if you keep things clear between your ears and hang in there.”