Legion baseball: Rowan 19, Kannapolis 5
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó Nathan Fulbright’s nose generated the only suspense as Rowan County pounded out 19 hits and hammered Kannapolis 19-5 at Veterans Field on Saturday.
Fulbright, an East Rowan jayvee, has been the most important guy on Rowan’s team so far because he’s been the only catcher on the roster.
When Fulbright developed a sudden nosebleed as Kannapolis prepared to bat in the bottom of the third, Rowan fans were on the edge of their seats wondering who might catch.
Fortunately, Fulbright managed to repair the leak after an unusual delay of about 10 minutes.
“I came in from batting and my nose just started pouring,” Fulbright explained. “The umpire wouldn’t let me catch until we got it stopped.”
Rowan coach Jim Gantt said Casey Little, an East varsity designated hitter who has reported for duty, would have been next in line to put on a chest protector had Fulbright been unable to continue.
“Casey was the JIC guy,” Gantt said. “Just in case.”
Unlike Rowan, Kannapolis (2-4, 2-2) never stopped the bleeding. Post 115 committed eight errors. It would have been nine had first baseman Rashad Jackson not somehow managed to catch a foul popup barehanded after it bounced off his glove.
The standouts for Rowan (3-0, 2-0), which managed to finish a game for the first time since May 22, were winning pitcher Nick Smith and the Holmes brothers ó Noah and Trey.
Besides airtight defense at the corners, the brothers supplied four doubles, seven runs and seven RBIs. If you’re keeping score ó and Noah certainly was ó Noah, an East junior, edged Trey, who plays at Pitt Community College, 4-3 in the RBI department.
“We’ve got a really good lineup, and tonight everybody was hitting and everybody was scoring runs,” Noah said. “I always like it when Trey’s out there with me. He saves me some errors.”
Kannapolis got off to a good start, small-balling its way to a 1-0 lead against Rowan starting pitcher Forrest Buchanan.
Rowan answered with a three-run second inning that was keyed by Preston Troutman’s double and aided by a pair of Kannapolis errors.
Buchanan didn’t have his best stuff and was pulled in the second inning. Smith, an RCCC student who graduated from North Rowan in 2008, replaced him and started putting up zeroes as Rowan pulled away.
“Nick located his fastball, kept them off-balance with his curveball and changeup and got a lot of groundball outs,” Fulbright said.
Rowan scored three times in the third with Noah Holmes, Troutman and Fulbright knocking in runs for a 6-2 lead.
Trey Holmes’ double was the key blow in a four-run fourth that knocked out Kannapolis ace John J. Tuttle. Billy Veal’s triple highlighted a four-run fifth.
After Kannapolis , which had only five hits, scratched back to 14-5, Rowan got five runs in the seventh to make it a 10-run rule game. Noah Holmes and Philip Miclat ripped doubles in the seventh.
Fulbright, the No. 9 hitter, surprised everyone by socking a two-run double in the fifth. His drive to the fence was one of eight extra-base hits recorded by Rowan.
Last night was Fulbright’s swan song with the Senior Legion team ó for now.
Gantt said Fulbright now will head to the Junior Legion squad to compete for regular duty. East varsity veterans Austin Shull and Matt Miller are expected to join the Senior team for tonight’s home game against Caldwell. That duo will handle catching chores the rest of the summer.
“Nathan did a great job for us,” Gantt said. “It wasn’t easy for a jayvee kid to catch some of the pitchers he was asked to catch, but he did it. Then tonight he did a nice job with the bat. Got the guys in from third, drove in big runs.”
Not bad for a kid with a bloody nose.