Prep Baseball: Carson 8, North Iredell 0
By David Shaw
CHINA GROVE ó Carson’s three-game losing streak is history, thanks in part to a freshman who neither looked nor acted his age Friday night.
At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, winning pitcher Mitch Galloway was hard to ignore in the Cougars’ 8-0 rout of visiting North Iredell. So was his performance.
“I just wanted to throw strikes and let the defense do their jobs,” Galloway said after tossing four shutout innings in his varsity debut. “I tried to get myself ready, tried to stay loose. I didn’t want to come in all nervous.”
Fourth-place Carson (11-4, 7-2 NPC) gave him plenty of support. The Cougars scored six runs in the last of the first inning, collected 14 hits ó six for extra bases ó and turned three double plays behind Galloway and reliever Weston Snow.
“It’s good to see some smiles back on their faces,” coach Chris Cauble said after Carson won for the first time in more than a week. “We looked a little relaxed again.”
Surprisingly, no one looked more at ease than Galloway ó a defensive tackle who became a varsity starter for Carson’s football team last fall. Cauble promoted him from the JV squad as a mid-season addition due to scheduling, a number of rainouts and the Cougars’ need snap out of their recent funk.
“I was wondering how he’d react to a varsity start,” said Cauble. “We have to play three conference games two weeks in a row and need another starter. I thought this would be a great opportunity for him to get a couple innings in.”
Galloway was somewhat erratic ó he walked five and hit a batter ó and worked his way in and out of trouble. But he never lost his composure and consistently kept the ball low in the strike zone.
“He did a pretty good job for his first time out,” NI coach Brian Tutterow said after the Raiders (3-11, 1-10) managed only five singles. “He kept it down and put us in check.”
North Iredell, which edged West Rowan on Thursday, seemed out-of-sync in the first inning, when Ethan Johnson surrendered six runs ó three of them earned ó on five hits. Carson sent 10 batters to the plate and received key hits from Gunnar Hogan (3-for-4), Joe Basinger (a run-scoring single) and Scott Ashby, who delivered a two-run single that gave CHS a 3-0 lead.
“We were playing as a team and taking good approaches at the plate,” said Hogan, who added a solo home run in the fourth inning.
Ashby went 3-for-3, scored twice and stole a base, boosting his average to .424.
“I’ve been working on staying on top of the ball, staying tall and driving through it,” he said.
Ashby scored Carson’s seventh run afer drilling a leadoff double to left field in the third. He took third base on Kenny Karriker’s base hit up the middle and scored on an infield error.
An inning later, Hogan smashed a two-strike pitch from North reliever Nick Burwell over the fence in left for his first homer of the season.
“I was just trying to put it in play,” said Hogan, now batting .383. “He ended up hanging a curveball and I went and got it.”
Snow mopped up, hurling three scoreless inning to earn his first save. His ERA dipped to 1.80.
But more than anyone, this was Galloway’s night to remember.
“Nothing really surprised me,” he said. “I’m just glad we could bounce back from the loss to Mooresville (on Thursday) and get the win.”
NOTES: Nine different players had hits for the Cougars. … Carson will visit East Rowan on Tuesday.
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