Legion baseball: South Rowan 17, Mocksville 15
By David Shaw
LANDIS ó It was a game only a math major could appreciate.
South Rowan’s American Legion baseball team gave the adding machine a workout Saturday night when it rallied for a 17-15 Southern Division win over visiting Mocksville.
“The best thing about that game is that it’s over and we won,” coach Michael Lowman said after South (4-0, 2-0) overcame five errors ó four came in Mocksville’s six-run fifth inning ó to gain a dehydrating, three-and-a-half-hour victory. “We might be 0-3 these next three games if we play like we did tonight.” Mocksville (4-1, 2-1) was just as enigmatic. One night after scoring 20 runs in a win at Kannapolis, Post 54 built a 15-10 lead after six innings. But it was undone because it played defense like the ’62 Mets, committed nine errors and allowing nine unearned runs, including South’s final two.
“I’m gonna go home and write a book about these last two nights,” said Mocksville coach Mike Lovelace. “I’ve seen more crazy plays in these two games than I have in all my years of coaching. We’re probably the first baseball team to score 35 runs in two nights and be 1-1.”
This one was more head-spinning than The Exorcist. Maverick Miles belted a three-run homer in the last of the first, giving South an early 3-2 lead.
“I thought it was just a line drive toward the fence,” he said after going 4-for-5 with six RBIs. “I guess the backspin carried it out.”South’s lead ballooned to 10-5 after two innings thanks to run-scoring hits by Matt Ingold and Tyler Freeze and a two-run single by Miles.
“We’re pretty good at hitting the ball when we put men on base,” center fielder Ryan Bostian said. “Even when we’re behind, we’re not going to give up. We’ll fight you for nine innings.”
Mocksville cut away at its deficit with single runs in the third and fourth innings. In the top of the fifth, after reliever Weston Snow retired the first two Mocksville batters, South infield defense turned into a circus juggling act. Eight straight men reached base ó four on errors, one on a hit-by-pitch.
“That’s very uncharacteristic of our defense,” Lowman said. “Weston did the job. He got the ground balls. We just didn’t make the plays.”
When the smoke cleared Mocksville had a six-run inning and a 13-10 lead. Tyler King’s solo home run and Jess Cartner’s RBI single gave the guests a five-run lead in the sixth. South drew even with five runs on six hits in its half of the sixth before Bostian made a game-saving play an inning later. The score was tied when King sent a fly ball to medium center. Bostian made the catch as Mocksville’s Jake Koontz tagged up from third base and raced toward the plate. Bostian’s relay reached Freeze on one hop and Koontz was retired, completing a double play.
“It looked like a sacrifice fly to me,” Bostian said. “But I got myself in perfect position and threw it right through the cutoff man.”
South clinched its victory when Ingold scored on a two-error play in the seventh and Zubillaga crossed on another misplay in the eighth.
“It was tiring,” Miles said. “Nothing went our way in that fifth inning. But we came back and held on.”
NOTES: Patrick Atwell joined South’s staff as an assistant coach. … Scoreboard operator Ralph Hughes won the 50-50 jackpot, then returned half of his winnings to the South program. … SR visits Lexington tonight while goes to Winston-Salem.