Legion Baseball: Stanly 10, Rowan 8

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 21, 2009

By Bret Strelow
ALBEMARLE ó Stanly County reliever Adrian Shepherd whipped his glove high into the air to celebrate his game-ending strikeout, and Rowan County players trudged out of the visiting dugout as unlikely losers in a 10-8 decision Sunday night.Tyler Eudy smacked a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning for Stanly, which trailed 8-1 entering the bottom half of the sixth.
Rowan (10-4, 7-3) allowed four runs in the sixth and five more in the seventh.
“A lot of things go bad to blow a lead like that,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “As the game went, they ended up with one of their best pitchers on the mound, and he made us look like we’ve never faced a left-hander before.”
Stanly’s seventh-inning rally took off thanks to a bad-hop single that bounced over first baseman Trey Holmes’ head with two outs. One run scored to cut Rowan’s lead to 8-6, and shortstop Preston Troutman committed a throwing error to keep the inning alive. Alex Litaker replaced reliever Parker Gobbel on the mound, and Coleton Burris’ sky-high flyball dropped in front of two converging outfielders in left-center for a game-tying double. Eudy then homered to center.”Coming into the game, we knew we were facing probably the best team in this area if not in the state,” Stanly assistant Mark Tucker said. “We told our guys if we go to the plate and stay patient and stay focused that good things happen.”
Rowan, which dropped into a first-place tie with South Rowan in the division race, built a big lead against Stanly (7-5, 5-5) on the strength of a two-run double from Holmes and a three-run homer from Corbin Shive. He went deep for the fourth straight game.
Rowan starter Nick Smith allowed an RBI double in the first inning and retired 13 of the next 15 batters with help from solid defense behind him.
Smith gave up a single after falling behind the first hitter in the sixth and then issued a four-pitch walk. He fielded a comebacker and fired to third for a potential forceout but threw wide of Noah Holmes, who had been playing deep as part of a no-doubles defense. Gobbel surrendered a two-run double and RBI single to the next two batters.
Stanly completed its comeback and silenced Rowan’s bats thanks to Shepherd, who allowed one hit and posted four strikeouts in three innings.
Said Gantt, “We’ve given up some leads so far this year ó we hung on at South ó and under pressure we don’t seem to be real good.”
NOTE: Noah Holmes made two diving catches on line drives to rob Stanly of hits.