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Baseball: Robinson 7, South Rowan 3

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
LANDIS — South Rowan didn’t play well enough defensively to beat anyone decent on Monday, and Concord Jay M. Robinson is pretty good.
The visiting Bulldogs, hopeful of being contenders in the tough SPC, led from start to finish and beat South 7-3.
“We just weren’t ready to play, and that’s my responsibility, but we will be ready to play from here on out,” South coach Thad Chrismon said. “At times, we made plays, but we made way too many mistakes.”
It was Robinson’s fourth straight win, and it was the first time that South (3-2) has laid an egg. Prior to Monday’s outing, the Raiders had recorded three solid wins and a well-played loss in which they led going to the seventh.
“We made more errors today than we have all season combined — and that includes the scrimmages,” growled South second baseman Parker Hubbard.
Hubbard clubbed his first varsity homer for one of the few Raider highlights, but he couldn’t feel great about it because he also committed one of the half-dozen errors.
Two South infield miscues helped Robinson score three unearned runs in the second inning. That frame gave the Bulldogs (4-2) control, and they never lost it.
“I’m very happy that we came out and played a good ballgame on a Monday,” said Robinson coach Jason Sarvis, who was a feared slugger at Northwest Cabarrus in the late 1990s. “We left too many on base (10), but you’ll take four straight wins anytime.”
Chrismon trotted out most of his pitching staff — Tyler Corriher, Dillon Parker, Matt Miller and Daniel Mullis.
Miller, South’s ace, looked sharp in his two scoreless innings. Corriher and Parker gave up all the runs, but the Raiders’ gloves were the culprit far more than their arms.
South was baffled for the first two innings by Robinson left-hander Ryan Lefler, who wasn’t throwing hard but was hitting spots.
“You had to wait, and then keep waiting, and then wait some more,” South center fielder Tyler Kowalczyk said.
Lefler got two outs in the third, and the bases were empty when Hubbard, South’s No. 9 hitter, sent a 2-2 pitch soaring over the short porch in left.
“I stayed back on it, but I also got under it a lot,” Hubbard said. “I didn’t realize it had gone out until I rounded first base.”
The homer ignited the Raiders briefly. Dylan Goodman followed Hubbard with a double, and Kowalczyk’s triple to deep center made it a 4-2 game. Eric Tyler was next, and he crushed a pitch, but his liner headed straight for the glove of third baseman Philip Perry to end the inning.
That was the last pitch Lefler threw.
“South was starting to get to him, and they did it a little earlier than I thought they would,” Sarvis said.
Nelson White relieved Lefler, worked two innings and limited South to an unearned run in the fifth.
Dillon Ashburn blanked South the last two innings, despite allowing a pair of one-out walks in the sixth and hitting Hubbard with a pitch leading off the seventh.
Tyler Sciaudone had three of Robinson’s 11 hits, including a two-run single in the fourth.
Kowalczyk accounted for two of South’s six hits and also drew a walk and stole a base.
“We didn’t play good defense at all, and we were just flat, Kowalczyk said. “The energy we’ve had in all our other games wasn’t there.”
The loss didn’t hurt South in the NPC where it owns a 2-0 record, and the Raiders have three days to get ready for Friday’s big NPC matchup with West Iredell.
“We’ve got an opportunity to learn something from this loss,” Chrismon said. “Hopefully, we learned we’ve got to come to the field prepared to play — at all costs.”
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NOTES: Two of the three double plays South turned were unconventional. Tyler, South’s catcher, threw out a runner trying to steal on a strikeout, and he also doubled a runner off first after grabbing a popup. … Ace Sam Laws will likely pitch for West Iredell on Friday. Preston Penninger probably will start for South, and Miller will be available for duty. … Robinson, tied for first in the SPC with Northwest, plays home-and-home against Concord this week. Sarvis will hand the ball to his ace, junior Brody Koerner, a Clemson commitment, today. Perry, a soph, will pitch Friday against the Spiders.

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