Prep Baseball: East Rowan 3, Carson 2
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY ó Belief can take you a long way, and East Rowan’s 5-foot-9 pitcher Preston Troutman has the confidence of a 7-footer.
Troutman won a tense duel with Carson slugger Joe Basinger on Tuesday night. Basinger’s at-bat with the bases loaded in the sixth inning ended with Troutman’s 10th strikeout and keyed the Mustangs’ 3-2 NPC win at Staton Field.
“It was an intense game, and I can’t say enough about how our kids wouldn’t quit and battled to get into a good situation,” Carson coach Chris Cauble. “We had the guy we wanted up there. If that scenario happens again, we’ll want Basinger back up there in that situation again.”
East (14-3, 9-2) was eager to atone for Friday’s 9-1 thrashing from West Rowan and came out swinging against Carson submariner Will Misenheimer. Corbin Shive’s two-out, two-run double to the right-center gap got East started in the first.
A single by Kenny Karriker, Patrick Bearden’s bunt, a throwing error and No. 9 hitter Kyle Bridges’ RBI single put the Cougars (11-5, 7-3) on the board in the third, but East got that run right back when Noah Holmes doubled home Zach Smith.
Troutman had no-hit stuff and mowed down Cougars. He put his team in control but East squandered numerous scoring chances.
Misenheimer stranded six Mustangs in his four innings with the help of his defense. Shortstop Gunnar Hogan made two strong plays ó diving in the first to rob Holmes and going deep in the hole in the third to take a hit away from Shive. In the fourth, Scott Ashby climbed the treacherous bank in left field and pulled down a long drive off the bat of Austin Shull.
“I kept thinking we were gonna get that big hit,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “We never did, and you have to credit Carson’s pitchers and defense for that. They played very well.”
Nich Glass relieved for Carson in the fifth. David Ijames singled, stole second and third and was looking for insurance, but Glass left him at third with two strikeouts.
“Glass has not been throwing well, but I had a gutcheck with him,” He threw as good as he’s ever thrown today, and that will make a big difference for our team.”
Down 3-1 in the sixth, Carson mounted a patient rally, and a tiring Troutman, making his longest outing all season, was starting to lose the strike zone. A hit batsman and two walks filled the bases with two down. Basinger headed to the plate. Hightower headed to the mound. Troutman stopped him verbally.
“I was going out there with an open mind,” Hightower said. “I hadn’t even got to the dirt when Preston told me, ‘Hey, I got it.’ ”
The conversation was brief. Troutman stayed in.
“He told me to throw strikes and get ahead,” Troutman said. “I was pretty pumped. I knew it was a big point in the game.”
Basinger entered batting .447 and had taken several good hacks against Troutman earlier in the game.
The count went full before Troutman finally got a fastball past Basinger and left the mound punching the air with both fists.
After Glass struck out the side in the East sixth, Cody Laws took the mound for the Mustangs in the seventh. Ashby said hello with a homer to left-center, his first of the season, and it was 3-2.
“My first two at-bats weren’t very good at all and Coach got on me some,” the senior said. “I tried to fix it.”
Laws got a strikeout before Bearden singled to put the tying run on.
Pinch-hitter Mitch Galloway then hit a groundball to Troutman, who had moved to shortstop. He bobbled it and lost the double-play chance, but he still got the out at first.
Laws then won a battle with Caleb Srackengast and got a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
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