Prep Baseball: West Rowan 10, Mooresville 5
By Mike London
MOUNT ULLA ó Jon Crucitti probably ran around in his crib as a baby.
Crucitti races back to the dugout after he strikes out, hustles to first base on walks the way Pete Rose used to do, and sprints on his home runs like someone is timing him in the 40-yard dash.
West Rowan’s perpetual-motion machine showed last night he’ll even sprint to first base after he’s hit by a pitch. He took one on the wrist (no bad intent) and charged ó not at the opposing pitcher, but down to first base like his hair was on fire.
Mooresville never did get Crucitti out on Friday, and he ignited West Rowan’s 10-5 NPC victory with a two-run homer to center field in the first inning.
“Just a really huge shot by Jon to get us going,” West coach David Wright said.
Crucitti was playing against former teammates, friends and coaches, but it was impossible to find anyone who doesn’t have nice things to say about his energy and his dirty-uniform style of play.
Mooresville won the earlier meeting of the teams. West got this one.
“This was less emotional than our first game at Mooresville early on,” Crucitti said. “But this one, when you look at the way the standings are shaping up, may be even more important.”
West (15-8, 12-5) has won 15 of its last 17. Mooresville (17-5, 13-4) is still one game up on the Falcons in the fight for third place. Mooresville finishes the regular season against first-place Lake Norman on Monday, while West plays fifth-place Carson.
Zack Simpson (4-3) won his fourth straight decision, while D.J. Webb worked out of a fifth-inning jam when the game was still up for grabs and earned his sixth save.
Mooresville had runners on the corners with none out in the first against Simpson and had the bases loaded with none out in the second. Simpson kept the Blue Devils off the scoreboard both times.
“That was the key right there,” Mooresville coach Jeff Burchett said. “Simpson got it done for them. We battled to the end, had them holding their breath in the dugout over there until that last out, but not producing early hurt us.”
West’s offense produced 16 hits, including four by leadoff man Philip Miclat.
The Falcons have banged out 48 hits (17-15-16) in their last three games. They knocked out Mooresville right-hander Aaron Meadows, a quality hurler, in the second inning.
“That’s the difference between us early and us now,” Wright said. “It took us our first 12 games to get 48 hits. Now we’ve got about a dozen guys swinging it very well.”
You can’t give a team swinging like that extra outs, and a third-inning error allowed the Falcons to stick four unearned runs on the board for a 7-0 lead.
West experienced its own defensive woes in the fifth to get Simpson in trouble. Mooresville scored four times with the help of three errors, but Webb came out of the bullpen and restored order.
Hayden Untz mashed an 0-2 pitch into the trees for a three-run homer in the fifth to give West a 10-4 cushion.
“I got a fastball, and that really surprised me,” Untz said. “My hands reacted.”
Mooresville, which got a 3-for-3 effort from Jacob Mays, kept scrapping, got a run in the seventh and had the bases full when Webb got the final out on a well-stroked flyball that Crucitti got a bead on.
Crucitti slowed down just long enough to squeeze it.