Legion baseball state tournament: Mooresville wins; faces Rowan next

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 27, 2009

From staff reports
GREENVILLE ó Mooresville, which started the season with eight losses in its first 13 games, is one of two unbeaten teams remaining at the American Legion state tournament.
Post 66 stayed in the winners bracket thanks to a 15-9 victory against Wilmington on Sunday afternoon at East Carolina’s Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Moors, who defeated Rocky Mount in the opening round of the double-elimination event Saturday, will face Area III foe Rowan tonight at 7:30 p.m.
“I don’t think anybody would have believed they’d be three games away from the state championship about a month ago,” Mooresville coach Josh Graham said.
Nathan Abraham (3-for-6, four RBIs), Dylan West (2-for-4, three RBIs, three runs), Chase LeVan (3-for-5, two runs) and Billy Nantz (three runs) led Mooresville (20-12) offensively. Taylor Thurber, who saved Game 1, picked up the win in relief of Wes Dumford.
A rain delay interrupted play with the third inning set to begin and Mooresville trailing 3-1. Eric Manser tied the game in a four-run third, racing home on a double steal, and West added a two-run homer.
Abraham’s two-run double in the fourth gave Mooresville a 7-3 lead, and Wilmington (25-5) used a three-run fifth to pull within 8-7. West hit an RBI double, Aaron Meadows scored on a wild pitch and Jacob Mays delivered an RBI single in a three-run seventh that gave the Moors a four-run cushion.
“The boys kept their heads up and didn’t quit,” Graham said. “We put together that big inning after the rain delay and never trailed (again).”
Ian Walters will likely start on the mound tonight for Mooresville. It will play the rest of the tournament without first baseman Brantley Horton, a West Rowan High School graduate and Navy football recruit.
Horton will be attending the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, RI, for a year. He planned to leave Greenville with his parents Sunday night and head north on Interstate 95 toward Rhode Island.
A Navy football reception is scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon, and an induction day is on tap Tuesday.
“Winning two games here, I might not ever play baseball again, so it’s a little tough,” Horton said.
Shelby 3, Rocky Mount 2Shelby eliminated Rocky Mount in a pitcher’s duel. Shelby Adam Izokovic (11 strikeouts) and Rocky Mount’s Brandon Denton hurled complete games.
Shelby shortstop Jonathan Henderson decided it with a two-run homer in the seventh.
Duplin 13, Pitt County 2Duplin ousted host team Pitt County in resounding fashion to stay alive.