Legion Baseball: Rowan 20, Stanly 12
By Mike London
ALBEMARLE ó Rowan County eliminated Stanly County 20-12 on Sunday in a game that trudged on for four hours.
“It drug on and on and on,” Rowan third baseman Noah Holmes said. “All you could do was hope it ended sometime.”
Alex Litaker and Holmes did the most to make the second round of the playoffs end positively for top-seeded Rowan (22-5), which took the hard-hitting series 3-1.
Litaker was sharp out of the bullpen. He held Stanly to one run in 31/3 innings and earned his first win of the summer on a night when it was tough to get anyone out.
“I was able to keep it low and (second baseman Philip) Miclat helped me with some awesome defensive plays,” Litaker said.
Miclat was everywhere, especially in the sixth when he made a diving catch and a perfect relay throw to shoot down Alex Robichaud, who tried for two bases on his base hit into the right-field corner.
“You don’t see that (9-4-6) play made very often,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said. “But Miclat was all over the place. That kind of hustle is what he’s capable of.”
Stanly (14-13) got homers from Ryne Poplin, Tyler Eudy and Colten Burris and had control early. Rowan trailed 7-3 and 9-5 before Litaker, Rowan’s fourth pitcher, was able to calm things down a bit.
Trey Holmes had four of Rowan’s 21 hits, including a homer on the game’s first pitch.
Still, Rowan struggled until the seventh when Zach Smith’s RBI double made it 9-9. Bradley Love relieved, and Noah Holmes launched his first pitch to right-center for a two-run homer that put Rowan ahead to stay.
“Love throws good,” Holmes said. “He just got that first fastball inside a little.”
Gantt, who recently moved the younger Holmes to the cleanup spot liked it.
“That’s the first really big hit Noah’s had in a while,” Gantt said. “That was real big for him and big for us.”
Russell Michalec’s perfect bunt ignited a six-run eighth that put the game away and sent Rowan into a third-round meeting with Randolph.