Legion baseball: South Rowan 6, Mocksville 3

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 29, 2009

By Mike London
CLEMMONS ó South Rowan’s Caleb Shore broke the program record for home runs in style.
After Blake Houston, Maverick Miles and Ryan Bostian reached base in the first inning, Shore sent a grand slam over the left-field fence at Western Forsyth to ignite a 6-3 non-division win against Mocksville on Sunday afternoon.
The homer was the 17th of Shore’s career and snapped a tie with current South pitching coach Andrew Morgan, who finished his American Legion career in 2004.
“That record was kinda sitting on me, and I was thinking about it,” said Shore, a rising sophomore at Belmont Abbey. “It was nice to get it on the first at-bat. I felt relieved.”
Morgan, who played with both of Shore’s older brothers, congratulated Caleb on the record but still expects to remain in South’s record book for a while. Morgan’s career pitching records for wins (20) and strikeouts (258) haven’t been seriously challenged.
“I might keep those records until my sons come along,” Morgan quipped.
Cory Deason and Ryan Bostian hit solo homers in the second inning for South before Mocksville pitcher Zach Long got settled in.
South’s offense took the rest of the game off, but the damage was done.
“We let their pitcher off the hook in that first inning by getting a couple guys picked off,” South coach Michael Lowman said. “We were really pretty lifeless out there. We got those early runs and were barely able to hang on.”
Cameron Park, Weston Snow, Brett Huffman and Randy Shepherd pitched for South. Snow, who relieved and escaped a two-on, none-out jam in the fourth, picked up his first win.
Mocksville had all kinds of chances, but it left 11 men on base in the seven-inning game.
Mocksville catcher Hernan Bautista just missed two homers, twice hitting line drives off the left-field fence.
“Hernan got jammed on the first one and hit the second one off the end of his bat, but he’s got amazing power,” said Huffman, who was a teammate of Bautista’s at West Rowan High School. “When Hernan hits the ball, it just keeps floating.”
One of Bautista’s rips off the fence pulled Mocksville within 6-2 in the third. Carlos Bautista, Hernan’s cousin, singled to make it 6-3 in the fifth. Huffman, who took the mound with the bases loaded and none out, limited the damage to one run.
Mocksville also loaded the bases against Shepherd in the seventh. He earned his first save with the help of a running catch at the fence in right-center by Bostian, who reeled in a long drive off the bat of Zack Russell-Myers.
“South played longball and made the plays defensively,” Mocksville coach Mike Lovelace said. “We couldn’t get the big hit, and that’s the way it’s been our last three games.”
NOTES: The teams were competing in the annual Erik Walker Memorial Tournament. Walker ó a standout pitcher for West Forsyth High School, the Mocksville Legion program and the Charlotte 49ers ó was off to a strong start in the farm system of the Tampa Bay Rays when he was killed in a canoeing accident on the New River in 2006.