Prep baseball: East Rowan 6, Lake Norman 0
By Mike London
MOORESVILLE ó East Rowan coach Brian Hightower got upset.
So did first-place Lake Norman.
Hightower was on the diamond arguing the very first out of the game, and he maintained playoff-level intensity until he was sent packing with a “disqualification” in the fourth.
His Mustangs also took things very seriously and rode a lights-out pitching performance from Corbin Shive to a 6-0 road victory. It was the first league loss for a Lake Norman team that was threatening to run the NPC table, a feat the Mustangs accomplished in 2008.
“I did look at this as a playoff game,” Hightower said. “Lake Norman’s already proven they have one of the best teams in the West. It was time for us to show we’re also one of the teams that can be considered among the best.”
David Ijames delivered the gamebreaking hit for the Mustangs, a two-run double in the sixth. Preston Troutman had four great at-bats and knocked in two runs. Shive did the rest as East (18-4, 13-3) stayed tied for second place with Mooresville.
“I felt like tonight my arm was right where I needed it to be,” Shive said. “All my pitches were working.”
It was Shive’s first win of the season but the 18th of his high school career.
A Charlotte signee, he has been working his way back slowly and steadily from shoulder surgery. He’s thrown a few three-inning stints. Last night, he stretched his powerful right arm out to six frames and limited the hard-hitting Wildcats (17-2, 14-1) to two hits. One of those was a bad-hop bouncer.
Lake Norman coach Robert Little still has a two-game lead with three left to play, and the Wildcats won’t have to dwell on the loss long. They welcome Carson for a makeup game tonight.
“It’s tough to go undefeated in this league,” Little said. “Tonight, East just outplayed us. They got some breaks, but they made those breaks.”
East beat Lake Norman lefty Nick Lomascolo, who has been untouchable. The Mustangs didn’t smack him around, but they took advantage of his rare mistakes.
East scratched a run in the top of the third. Then Shive got out of a jam in the bottom half of the inning after Lake Norman put runners at second and third with one out and sent hard-hitting leadoff man Kevin Gradert to the plate.
Shive struck out Gradert on a fastball.
“I had him 1-2 and he’d already seen my curveball, so I just reached back and let it go,” Shive said.
The inning ended with a flyout to center fielder Zach Smith, and Lake Norman didn’t seriously threaten again.
“Everything goes back to Shive,” Little said. “He was just excellent.”
East added two runs against Lomascolo in the sixth. Ben DeCelle got an infield hit, Troutman walked, and Smith, the No. 3 hitter, bunted the runners over for Ijames. He had struck out twice against Lomascolo but came through.
“David’s proven all year he can hit with runners in scoring position,” Hightower said. “I didn’t believe they could get him three times in a row.”
They didn’t. Ijames hammered a 1-2 pitch to the gap in left-center for two runs.
“Lomascolo had me guessing,” Ijames said. “But I relaxed on that third at-bat, and he left a changeup high.”
A pair of Lake Norman throwing errors handed East three runs in the seventh. Kent Basinger relieved Shive and got the final three outs with the aid of a line drive that Troutman, the shortstop, turned into a double play.
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