Prep baseball: West Rowan 7, South Rowan 2
By Mike London
LANDIS ó Give South Rowan third baseman Jordan Corriher credit for being a stand-up guy.
Corriher, an expert bricklayer with Popeye forearms and a .354 batting average , drove in both of his team’s runs in a 7-2 loss to West Rowan on Friday. He was also involved in a negative way in the night’s biggest play when West’s Brett Huffman stroked a two-out bouncer in his direction in the top of the first. The ball took a strange enough hop off the lip of the infield that West’s scorebook awarded Huffman a hit. Opinion was divided in the bleachers on how to score it, but Corriher said he should have made the play.
“Tough hop, yeah, but that’s a play I’ve got to work my glove from the ground up and make for us,” Corriher said. “If I do make that, the whole night might go different.”
Two runs scored as Huffman reached safely.
With the inning extended, South starter and finisher Alex Ingold had to face slugging catcher Hernan Bautista, who leads the county in homers. Bautista drove a pitch into the parking lot beyond the left-field fence, and it was 5-0.
“We didn’t make a play ó they made us pay,” South coach Thad Chrismon said.
Those five quick runs made life easier for West freshman pitcher Matt Miller. He had a nice breaking ball, didn’t walk a batter, fanned eight and boosted his record to 3-1.
“Matt could drop his curveball over for a strike whenever he needed it,” Bautista said. “When he was ahead and needed to throw one in the dirt, he could do that too. This was big for us. We had a 3-0 week, and that’s something we’ve been working for.”
Miller’s complete game was big for the Falcons. Other than Corriher and right fielder Tyler Kowalczyk, a jayvee callup who produced three singles, Miller sailed through South’s lineup.
“Miller’s performance was huge,” West coach David Wright said. “We were way down in our pitching, and he gives us seven innings.”
West (12-8, 9-5 NPC) has won 12 of its last 14. South (7-14, 2-13) has been competitive just about every night, but it’s lost seven in a row and hasn’t tasted victory since the Easter tournament.
Ingold quieted West’s bats after Bautista’s homer. Philip Miclat’s sac fly scored Hayden Untz, who had tripled to South’s expansive right field, in the fourth. Miclat beat out an infield hit to plate Tyler King in the sixth.
“It’s not easy when you’re down 5-0 right off, but Ingold went out and battled inning after inning and gave us a chance,” Chrismon said. “He made some great pitches.”
But West is obviously hitting its stride at the right time.
“We’re in playoff mode right now, and two out of three really isn’t good enough any more.” Wright said. “We’ve had plenty of opportunities for 3-0 weeks. We finally went out and took care of one.”