Legion baseball: Rowan rolls 17-0
By Mike London
There was nothing ailing Rowan County hitters that Newman Park couldn’t cure.
Rowan rebounded from back-to-back, one-run league losses to bury the visiting Lincoln County Cardinals 17-0 in a non-division game Sunday night.
“I’ve said it a million times,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “When they get back in front of the home fans here, our guys don’t want to perform poorly. They weren’t down about losing two games. They just wanted to get back on track.”
Staked to a comfortable early lead, Forrest Buchanan (3-0) set down the first eight batters he faced, never issued a walk and worked five shutout frames while allowing a solitary single.
Corbin Shive drove in six runs with two homers, one a grand slam. Zach Smith homered and produced four RBIs. Philip Miclat scored four runs.
Third baseman Noah Holmes added three remarkable defensive stops. Basically, Rowan (8-3) could do no wrong in a game shortened to seven innings by the 10-run rule.
It all started with Buchanan, who needed just four pitches and roughly 30 seconds to retire the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the first inning.
After Russell Michalec, Miclat and Smith got on base in the bottom in the first, Trey Holmes’ flyball fell safely near the left-field line for a single to make it 1-0.
Shive followed with his slam.
“I was just lucky that I came up with a lot of people on base tonight,” said Shive, who also powered a grand slam against Lexington at Newman Park on June 1. “I was just trying to put the ball in a hole somewhere.”
Somewhere turned out to be the top of the fence. The ball caromed over, and it was 5-0 after five batters.
Billy Veal’s single and Austin Shull’s double to left, which missed being a homer by a foot or so, made it 6-0 before Buchanan was required to return to the mound.
“I’ve been working on pitching at a faster tempo and getting first-pitch strikes and a cushion always helps,” said Buchanan, who watched his teammates score 29 runs in his previous start against Randolph County.
Rowan settled for two runs in the second. Trey Holmes’ grounder wide of first base should’ve produced the third out of the inning , but he hustled and beat the pitcher to the bag. That gave Shive a chance to hit, and this time he rocketed a pitch deep into the trees beyond the scoreboard. That blast made it 8-0.
Smith’s two-run single keyed a three-run third. Michalec, Miclat and Noah Holmes knocked in runs in a three-run fifth. Smith capped the fun with a three-run homer in the sixth.
Noah Holmes’ plays at third base had the bleachers buzzing. It was Brooks Robinson stuff, starting with a backhand gem to end the second inning. His big brother, Trey, made a nice scoop at first to finish the play.
“I can’t say too much,” Noah said. “If the ball’s in my range, I just try to make a play and save runs.”
After Buchanan got pats on the back for a good night’s work, Parker Gobbel and Alex Litaker finished up.
They pitched a scoreless inning apiece with help from double plays started by Noah Holmes. On both DPs, Holmes flung himself to the ground to stab hard-hit balls and came up throwing. Miclat, the second baseman, made the smooth turns.
“When you pitch and play defense like that it doesn’t take a lot of hitting,” Gantt said. “The plays Noah made were worth coming out here to see.”n
NOTES: Rowan travels to Ramseur for a non-division game against Eastern Randolph tonight. … Jon Crucitti returned to the team after spending time at Rice’s football camp. Crucitti, a potential baseball/football recruit, said Rice’s offer was the best he’s received to date. … Rowan will miss Crucitti, Miclat and shortstop Preston Troutman later this week due to State Games. … Lincoln County Post 455ó known as Denver in recent seasons ó dropped to 6-9.