Legion baseball: South Rowan 13, Mooresville 8
By Mike London
MOORESVILLE ó South Rowan players staggered numbly to the handshake line after finishing a doubleheader sweep of Mooresville on Friday night.
Five hits by Blake Houston and solid pitching by Dylan Walker helped South clinch second place in the Southern Division of Area III with a 13-8 road victory, but players were too exhausted to do much celebrating.
“Both teams were running on fumes,” South coach Michael Lowman said. “We knew we’d have to battle all day long, and our guys did that.”
South players were mostly worn out from swinging bats. South sent 110 men to the plate in the twin bill: 54 in the first game, 56 more in the nightcap.
South accumulated 21 hits in each game.
Matt Ingold tripled in both games.
Ingold and Brett Huffman drove in three runs apiece for South (12-5, 10-5) in the nightcap. Ryan Bostian and Maverick Miles had three hits each.
After an inning, it looked like the final score might be something like 50-49.
Mooresville pitcher Ross Whitley was making his first start of the summer, and South got to him for six hits in the first inning for a quick 6-0 lead. Huffman had a two-run single.
Mooresville (6-8, 5-8) greeted Walker, a lefty, with a first-inning explosion of its own. In a span of four batters, Walker allowed a double, a single and two-run homers by Billy Nantz and Dylan West.
“It took me a while,” Walker said. “The first inning my curveball just wasn’t working. The coaches told me to keep my head up and I’d find it.”
Walker didn’t find much in the second inning except line drives. Josh Clark ripped one right at Bostian in center field. After Chase LeVan hammered a single, Mooresville coach Josh Graham had the hit-and-run on, and Nathan Abraham smoked a bullet. LeVan was rounding second base when Bostian caught the ball, and South had an easy double play.
“That play changed the game,” Walker said. “That got everyone in the dugout pumped up, and we started playing more aggressive.”
Graham said the line-drive twin killing was par for the course for a team that’s been snakebit all summer.
“Three line drives that inning and we’ve got nothing to show,” Graham said. “Sometimes you feel like the whole world’s against you. Our kids got a little down on themselves.”
Eventually, Walker found that curveball he was searching for. He faced only nine Moors in the third, fourth and fifth as South’s lead swelled to 11-4.
Randy Shepherd relieved Walker with two on and one out in the sixth and worked out of a jam. Then he pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.
“Randy relieved in a key part of the game, held the lead and let us build on it,” Lowman said. “Dylan and Randy put up some zeroes on a day when zeroes were hard to come by.”
South seemed to have the bases loaded all night, but it left 16 on base and couldn’t win by the 10-run rule.
That allowed the Moors to make things interesting in the eighth with five straight hits off a tiring Shepherd.
Walker Smith relieved and got the last two outs in the eighth. Huffman pitched a scoreless ninth to finally end it.
“Once Dylan settled down and we started playing defense it really turned out great for us,” Bostian said. “Considering how hot it was all day and considering how long that first game took, we did a pretty good job in the second game.”
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