Legion baseball: South Rowan 7, Concord 1
By David Shaw
CONCORD ó South Rowan’s American Legion baseball team didn’t blow any amps Friday, but it did get its division season off to a loud start.
Post 185/146 collected 11 hits and received six effective innings from winning pitcher Will Misenheimer in a 7-1 victory over host Concord.
“We had played well and already gotten two wins,” South coach Michael Lowman said. “But they were both non-league. This was the real season, and it was important to get off to a good start.”
South used a couple of big innings ó it scored four runs in the top of the fourth and three in the sixth ó to tame Concord (1-4, 0-4). Ryan Bostian, Julio Zubillaga, Brett Huffman and Blake Houston had two hits apiece for the guests. Misenheimer did the rest, inducing 10 groundouts and retiring 10 of 11 batters during one stretch between the second and fifth innings.”I just did the best I could,” the submarining Misenheimer said. “The defense had to work a lot, and Tyler (Freeze) did a great job behind the plate.”
Lowman gave high marks to South shortstop Matt Ingold ó an infielder for UNC-Pembroke this spring ó and Zubillaga, a sure-handed third baseman.
“Will’s a ground-ball pitcher, so he’s gonna keep it in the park,” Lowman said. “And the left side of our infield is as good as there’s going to be with Ingold and Zuby. As long as he keeps it on the ground, it’s gonna take three hits to score a run.”
Concord scored the game’s first one when Dalton Shuford lined a 1-2 pitch over the center field fence in the last of the third. It was his first of the season and Concord’s only extra-base hit.
“That’s because their pitchers get you to beat it down on the ground,” said Post 51 assistant coach Jamie Russ, who took the reins while head coach Justin Ridenhour served a one-game suspension. “Even Shuford’s home run was down and away. It wasn’t up by any means. None of their pitchers left anything up for us.”
South took command of the game when it batted around and scored four times in the fourth against Shuford, a right-hander who caught Ingold and Huffman looking at called third strikes to open the inning.
After Freeze and Randy Shepherd coaxed walks, Houston laced an RBI single to center. And when the ball was misplayed for an error, both runners scored and Houston wound up sliding into third base.
“I saw the ball go under the outfielder’s glove,” Houston said. “Then I saw Coach (Ryan) Query waving me on, so I just kept going and I got there.”
Bostian and Zubillaga added run-scoring singles before Caleb Shore, appearing for the first time this season, lined out to short to close the inning.
Ingold made it 5-1 when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth. Huffman, who blasted a double that short-hopped the center-field fence in the fifth inning, closed the scoring when he steered a two-run single into left against reliever Tyler Ring.
“I knew if I struck out the coaches would be mad at me,” said Huffman, who hit a 1-2 pitch. “I had to put it in play. But I couldn’t believe he threw me four straight curveballs.”
It capped what Misenheimer termed “a statement game.”
“We came out and showed what we’re all about,” he said.
NOTES: Unbeaten South goes for its fourth win tonight at home against Mocksville.