• 50°

Legion baseball: Newman name a good omen for Rowan

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
SUMTER, S.C. ó Rowan County coach Jim Gantt, a devoted New York Yankees fan, is looking forward to visiting Roger Maris’ hometown.
The American Legion World Series begins Friday in Fargo, N.D., at Newman Outdoor Field, which retired the No. 8 worn by Maris as a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Twins in the 1950s. The 4,500-seat facility has outfield dimensions similar to those at the old Yankee Stadium.Rowan, which qualified for the World Series by defeating Tuscaloosa (Ala.) in the Southeast Regional final Monday night, calls Newman Park home.
“The Newman part is more of an omen than the Yankees part,” Gantt said.
An eighth-inning balk, along with stellar defense and sterling relief pitching from Billy Veal, carried Rowan (37-8) to a 3-2 win that sets up a matchup with Central Plains Regional champion Festus (39-4) out of Missouri. That opening-round game will likely begin after 9:30 p.m. EST (or 8:30 p.m. in North Dakota) on Friday.
The other six teams in the field are Berlin (Conn.) from the Northeast Regional, Mt. Airy (Md.) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional, Texarkana, Texas, from the Mid-South Regional, Midland (Mich.) from the Great Lakes Regional, Medford (Ore.) from the Northwest Regional and defending champion Las Vegas from the Western Regional.
“It’s unbelievable,” Gantt said. “When we first started, we thought we’d have a chance to win in our league. We just didn’t know if we’d have a chance to win the state championship, let alone this one. We thought if we got any pitching at all we’d have a chance because our lineup was going to be pretty good.”
Gantt went to bed at roughly 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and the team was required to stay in Sumter in advance of today’s flight to Fargo.
Washing clothes and having commemorative patches placed onto uniforms were the main orders of business during a relatively uneventful Tuesday.
“I’m thinking about telling them we’re going to go practice at about 4 o’clock to see what they say,” Gantt joked Tuesday morning.
“We’re not going to eat at CiCi’s Pizza again, I can tell you that. We’ve eaten that enough. First time in my life I’ve said I was tired of pizza, and I never thought that would happen. It took 43 years.”
The team was scheduled to leave its Sumter hotel for the Columbia Metropolitan Airport at 4:45 a.m. this morning.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the independent Northern League play in the 13-year-old stadium on the campus of North Dakota State. Newman Park and Newman Outdoor Field are separated by 1,438 miles, and at least a few people planned to make the 21-hour drive from Salisbury.
Rowan center fielder Jon Crucitti, a football standout at West Rowan High School, and several teammates have never flown on a plane. He made a road trip earlier this summer to a football camp at Rice, which is located in Houston.
“Sixteen hours there and 17 hours back,” Crucitti said. “This is going to be fun.”
Rowan’s run into mid-August has forced coaches, players and parents alike to adjust their schedules.
Crucitti and shortstop Preston Troutman, a rising senior at East Rowan High School, have missed practices with their respective football teams.
Gantt, Catawba College’s baseball coach, will be absent this weekend when new players report to campus. Catawba assistant Michael Lowman, a member of the Rowan squad that reached the World Series in 1996, will accept additional responsibilities.
Steven Sawyer, a Catawba and Rowan County assistant, is getting married to Angela Rodriguez in the first week of September. He hasn’t seen his fiance very often in the last few weeks.
“Part of the wedding planning was around baseball being over but before Catawba got started,” Sawyer said. “It’s not going to be an issue at all, and it’s probably better that I stay out of the way. It’ll probably go smoother if I’m not around to mess anything up.”
 
 
 
 

Comments

Comments closed.

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget

Columnists

Genia Woods: Let’s talk about good news in Salisbury

Local

City attorney will gather more information for Salisbury nondiscrimination ordinance

Education

North Hills planning to hold May fundraiser in person

East Spencer

Developers aim to transform former Dunbar School site into multi-purpose community development

Education

Knox student organizing event to get community cycling

Education

Decision on Essie Mae charter appeal expected Thursday

Nation/World

House passes sweeping voting rights bill over GOP opposition

Nation/World

Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol

Nation/World

States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge

News

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper receives COVID-19 vaccine

News

North Carolina health officials urge schools to reopen

Crime

In letter, PETA criticizes Salisbury Police for K-9 video

Coronavirus

Three deaths, 29 new COVID-19 positives reported

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found in woman’s Park Avenue apartment

Crime

Man faces assault charges for domestic incident