Legion baseball: Rowan 17, Lexington 2
By David Shaw
Corbin Shive’s name doesn’t say “Slugging Power Hitter,” but his game certainly does.
The Rowan County designated hitter did all the heavy lifting Monday night at Newman Park in an abbreviated 17-2 win over short-handed Lexington.
“Since I was in the DH spot I was focused on hitting tonight,” said Shive, Rowan’s scheduled starting pitcher for tonight’s division showdown at South Rowan. “And I saw a lot of good pitches to hit.”Shive saw enough to go 3-for-4 with a two-run double, a grand slam and six RBIs in his third game for Rowan (4-1, 3-0). He boosted his early-season batting average to .556.
“He’s known as a good fastball hitter if he gets one he can handle,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “He’s got a lot of power. But he’s better known for his pitching, that’s for sure.”
Shive was the lead float in Rowan’s 17-hit parade.
The locals batted around in the first, fourth and sixth innings to support the steady pitching of right-hander Billy Veal.
“This was just a solid win all around,” said outfielder Jon Crucitti, who reached base five times. “We did a lot of things right, and we’re gonna go after it again (tonight).”
Rowan’s lineup achieved instant lift-off against Lexington starter Jordan Hudson.
The sidearming southpaw walked three of the first four batters he faced before Noah Holmes (three RBIs) delivered the game’s first run on a groundout. Russell Michalec added a run-scoring single, and Shive drilled a two-run double that skipped past Post 8 center fielder Teland Todd, making it 4-0.
“I saw it sinking and get by him,” said Shive, one of several East Rowan players who joined the Legion squad recently. “I thought (Todd) might have a chance, but it took a dive right before it hit the ground.”It became a five-run first inning for Rowan when Shive scored on a two-out throwing error.
He crossed again after doubling to the left-center gap in the last of third. By the time he batted again ó after Trey Holmes scored on Crucitti’s fourth-inning double off the right-field wall ó Rowan had an 8-0 lead.
“Everyone could relax a little bit,” Shive said. “It’s harder to hit when you’re tense, but it’s a lot easier to play good ball when you’re relaxed.”
Shive proved his point later in the fourth, when he sent a 3-2 fastball from Hudson over the wall in deep left field for his first grand slam since Wiffleball.
It was a magnificent blast, a shot that was in the books while it was still in the air.
“That just comes from the focus this team has,” said Crucitti, a .533 hitter through five games. “We come prepared to play baseball every day. And if (Shive) can do that much with the bat, I can’t wait to see him pitch.”
Not to be overlooked was Veal’s smooth-sailing, five-inning stint. He had a 71.4 first-pitch strike percentage, fanned four and walked one. His best pitch may have been the 1-2 curveball that fooled Lexington’s Demetri Gilmore, stranding three baserunners to end the top of the fourth.
Afterward, Gantt said he was happy to get back on the winning side of the handshake line. “You take ’em when you get ’em,” he said. “This isn’t indicative of what Lexington’s going to be. Central Davidson had a sports banquet tonight, and North Davidson was in the playoffs. It’ll be a different team when we face ’em again.”
NOTES: Post 8 fell to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in division play. … Michalec went 3-for-5 and is hitting a robust .417.