Legion Baseball: Rowan 10, Mocksville 3
By Mike London
Give Mocksville credit. It went the distance at Newman Park Monday, something no one’s done lately.
Rowan coach Jim Gantt gave seven pitchers work in a 10-3 breeze that wrapped up the regular season.
“Rowan played better defense than we did and got bigger hits than we did,” Mocksville coach Mike Lovelace said. “We can’t get that big-time hit.”
It was the sixth straight victory for the Southern Division champs. The previous five were 10-run rule romps in which Rowan (16-4, 13-3) scored at least 13 runs.
“A good thing we only had to play 81/2 innings,” Rowan center fielder Jon Crucitti joked. “Don’t know if we would’ve held up for nine.”
Crucitti held up his end of things, smacking three hits and climbing the center-field wall to rob Clint Howell of extra bases in the ninth inning.
“I’d let a ball fall in front of me earlier so I wanted to help my pitcher (Preston Troutman) out on that one,” Crucitti said. “I got in the air and got my glove up there above the padding and made a play.”
Crucitti’s catch was only Rowan’s second-best defensive effort. First baseman Trey Holmes made one of the plays of the century in the eighth.
After Matt Leonard walked, Jess Cartner smashed a sharp bouncer down the first-base line that looked like a certain hit. Holmes bounded into the air to grab a ball more than two feet over his head. Then he shocked everyone by firing to second to nip Leonard. Then he found the bag and took a return throw for a bang-bang double play.
Starter Ryan Carter and reliever D.J. Webb pitched respectably for Mocksville (9-13, 6-10). Rowan’s 11 hits were its fewest since it was held to nine on June 9.
“I thought they pitched inside well, located curveballs well,” Gantt said. “We didn’t hit as well as we have been, but their pitching had something to do with it.”
Russell Michalec singled in Trey Holmes for a 1-0 Rowan lead in the first inning. Crucitti and Corbin Shive put three runs on the board with back-to-back doubles in the third as Rowan took charge 4-0.
Rowan finally knocked out Carter in the fifth. Webb entered with two men on and gave up a run-scoring single to Billy Veal and a a three-run homer to Noah Holmes that broke the game open.
“It was a fastball that was supposed to be away, but it was a little high and a little too far in,” Webb said. “That’s just a really good-hitting team.
It was the first homer for Noah Holmes since June 7.
“I was not expecting that pitch ó I guess he just misplaced it,” Holmes said.
Forrest Buchanan pitched three shutout innings for Rowan. Parker Gobbel, the third in Rowan’s procession of arms, got credit for the win.
Tyler King had two RBIs for Mocksville.
‘We’d gotten used to those seven-inning games,” Noah Holmes said. “That seemed like a really long night.”
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