Prep Baseball: Salisbury 7, Central Davidson 4
By Mike London
LEXINGTON ó On any given Sunday anything can happen. Apparently that also holds true for dark, cloudy Thursday afternoons.
Seventh-seeded Salisbury’s baseball team went on the road and surprised No. 2 Central Davidson 7-4 yesterday in the first round of the CCC tournament.
No divine intervention was required, but some bounces occurred that made fans stare toward the sky and wonder a bit.
Central is 16-5 and had beaten conference champ West Davidson two days earlier. As for Salisbury, well, it’s been a snake-bit year.
“Maybe we were just due one,” theorized Salisbury coach Scott Maddox. “We’ve played well so many times only to make that one key mistake and have things turn on us. I don’t know. I do know we live to play another day.”
Salisbury plays No. 4 seed Providence Grove at Ledford tonight at 7 p.m. in a semifinal.
As far as Hornet heroes, start with Forrest Buchanan. He pitched a complete game, calmly ignored the occasional chaos behind him and polished off the Spartans. He’s 4-4 for a 6-16 team. That’s what kind of year he’s had.
Russell Michalec (no surprise) and John Knox (major surprise) launched two-run homers, both into the jet stream in left-center. Knox said it was his first since Little League. Good time for it.
Daman Bowman’s day was hard to describe. You had to be there. Bowman’s an exceptional soccer player. He came out for baseball as a senior to help out as a courtesy runner. Maddox put him in left field Thursday. He made a difference. Four shots were smashed in his general direction. He made two nice catches, one great catch and one catch that was somewhat better than great. Teammates laughed, high-fived and dubbed it the Angels-in-the-Outfield catch. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand.
Torii Hunter probably makes that catch, but a soccer guy? Bowman made it. Two umpires and about 75 fans saw it happen.
Then there was the line drive off Nick Musgrave’s bat that caromed off Buchanan’s shoulder. The ball stayed airborne just long enough that shortstop Spencer Carmichael sprinted in, snagged it, and doubled a runner off first. No kidding. It happened.
“I felt like we’d score a lot of runs today, and we hit balls on the nose,” Central coach Jonathan Brown said. “I guess when you hit a line drive off the pitcher’s shoulder for a double play, it’s probably not gonna be your day. But give Buchanan credit. He did everything he needed to do. And give Salisbury credit. They played very well.”
Salisbury got two fortunate runs in the first. A passed ball on a strikeout extended the inning, and Buchanan and Frankie Cardelle delivered RBI doubles. Michalec’s two-out homer in the second made it 4-0. Kyle Wolfe’s two-out single in the third made it 5-0. Central got one run in the third, but Knox’s two-out homer in the fifth made it 7-1.
“Huge,” Brown said. “That homer right there killed us.”
Knox wore an ear-to-ear smile as he galloped around the bases.
“The coaches keep telling me to stay back, stay back, and one day I’d rip one,” Knox said. “Today was that day. It felt great. But I can’t swing for the fences. Have to stay back.”
It was still 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh, but the Hornets kicked two routine grounders to make it exciting.
Bowman’s extraordinary catch provided a huge out. Landon Clark rapped a rocket that appeared headed for the trees. Bowman twisted, turned, sprinted, looked around, stuck out his glove and speared the ball.
“I was getting a little worried, but we showed some backbone,” Buchanan said. “Daman made a killer catch. It got us going again.”
Bowman could have credited eating his Wheaties, but he had a simpler explanation.
“We all made plays and we all hit,” he said.
On any given Thursday.