Prep Baseball: Carson 6, West Rowan 5

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2011

By Mike London
CHINA GROVE — There was a sense of desperation in the air on Thursday night when struggling Carson tangled with snake-bit West Rowan in an NPC makeup game.
“I feel for West, but we haven’t had a lot of things go our way, either,” Carson coach Chris Cauble said. “We’ve had an awful lot of bad luck.”
The ball bounced and rolled the Cougars’ way this time, and they rallied from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Falcons 6-5.
West, which has some talent, fell to 0-9 overall and is in an 0-3 hole in the league.
“We’ve just got to take better care of the baseball,” said West coach Chad Parker after his team’s six-error outing. “You can’t give a team like Carson so many extra outs. Every time we made a mistake, they capitalized.”
Josh Martin was the hero for Carson (3-4, 2-1), moving from third base to the mound in mid-game and throwing four shutout innings. West only got one hit off Martin, and that was a bloop.
“We held a players’ only meeting before the game, and I wanted to lead by example,” Martin said. “I was going to go right after them, no matter what. My curve was OK, but my fastball was my best pitch. I was able to locate it.”
West’s gameplan was to get Carson starting pitcher Gavin Peeler out of the game. The Falcons accomplished that mission, but their reward was Martin. That’s the way things are going for West so far.
“Martin was a bulldog,” Cauble said. “He showed his coach he wants to pitch more.”
West wasted two walks in the first inning, but it got on the board in the second when Hunter Teeter’s sacrifice fly scored Madison Osborne.
Chandler Jones’ two-out, seeing-eye RBI single past two diving Cougars made it 2-0 in the third, and Osborne extended the inning with a solid single for his second hit.
That brought up Teeter, and his flyball down the left field line shocked everyone — first by staying fair, second by drifting over the left-field fence for a three-run homer.
“I thought it was just a foul ball until I saw the umpire signal,” Teeter said. “I’ll take it.”
Now Teeter had four RBIs and West starting pitcher Matt Miller had a 5-0 lead, but the game reversed direction on one bizarre play in the bottom of the third.
With two out, Carson had Kyle Bridges running at second and Gunnar Hogan at first. Joseph Basinger was the hitter, and he stung a groundball into center field. Cauble waved Bridges around, and he slid home safely. It got worse from there for the Falcons. Catcher Steven Crandall tried to cut down Hogan at third, and the ball sailed into left field, allowing Hogan to score. When the ball eluded Ethan Wansley, Basinger came chugging around the bases as well.
Carson had gotten three quick runs on a basic single up the middle, and the Falcons lost some focus after that.
Tripp Cross got an odd RBI in the fourth to make it 5-4. His flyball fell in right field to score Martin from third, but West got a forceout at second.
Carson picked up the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth.
Bridges and Hogan again set the table. Miller fanned Basinger with a breaking ball for the first out, but Mitch Galloway, who had grounded out twice to the right side, smashed a solid hit to right field.
Bridges scored to tie the game and Hogan galloped home with what proved to be the winning run when the ball took a crazy hop past Patrick Hampton, the right fielder.
“That’s all I’ve been working on, trying not to swing too hard, staying short and looking opposite field,” Galloway said. “We’ve had some very tough losses, and we really needed to get this one.”
Martin, working briskly, kept mowing down Falcons, and the Cougars got it.
“I told the guys to keep plugging and play the game the right way and good things would happen,” Cauble said. “It’s not easy to keep believing down 5-0, but we did.”
Miller went the distance on the mound and turned in a quality effort, but the Falcons are still looking for win No. 1.
“Miller had a good game and Teeter hit a bomb, but those things get overshadowed when you don’t play good defense,” Parker said.