F&M Classic: Mount Pleasant 16, West Rowan 2
By Paul Herhsey
KANNAPOLIS ó West Rowan drew the 10 a.m. game twice in the three-day F&M Bank Classic and fared very well the first time, surprising Northwest Cabarrus in the opener.
But the Falcons hit the snooze button on their alarm clocks Friday morning, surrenduring seven runs in the top of the first on their way to a 16-2 five-inning beating at the hands of streaking Mount Pleasant at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.
It was 5-0 by the time West recorded its first out and 13-0 after two and a half innings as the Tigers totaled 14 hits in the game while taking advantage of wild pitching and poor defense by the Falcons (4-19).
“There’s not much to say,” West coach Chad Parker said. “We didn’t show up to play. If we brought this effort, it wouldn’t matter what time we played. Don’t take anything away from Mount Pleasant. We gave them a lot of help, but they swung it pretty well too.”
West starter Justin Evans lasted just 11/3 innings, allowing nine runs. He walked four, including three in the first inning, and tossed two wild pitches, but also didn’t get help behind him.
After an infield single and two walks loaded the bases to start the game, third baseman Nick Collins failed to backhand a groundball, allowing the first run to score.
Center fielder Patrick Hampton then misplayed a flyball off the bat of Anthony Allende, allowing it to go over his head for a two-run triple.
The Falcons were charged with just two errors in the game, but that was one of several other plays they weren’t able to make that helped Mount Pleasant break it wide-open quickly.
“You can’t walk people, it doesn’t matter what level you’re playing,” Parker said. “And when you throw the pitches you need to throw and you can’t make plays it doesn’t matter who’s on the mound. We’ve got to make routine plays. That’s kind of a broken record all year. You’ve got to take care of the baseball and we didn’t and the result was what it was.”
The Tigers ended up sending 11 men to the plate in the first, capping it off with a two-run double by Brandon Burris.
A leadoff walk started the second and Collins allowed a groundball down the third-base line to get by him cleanly, opening the door to three more runs, the last of which scored on an error by Hunter Teeter with two outs.
“I’m not going to point to any one (play),” Parker said. “There were a lot of them out there where we had the opportunity to get off the field and didn’t.”
Mount Pleasant added three more runs on three hits against Steven Wetmore in the third and capped their scoring with another three in the fourth, helped by four walks by Ethan Wansley.
After issuing nine walks Thursday against A.L. Brown, Falcon pitchers handed out 10 in this one. They were especially costly against a hot-hitting Tigers’ offense which racked up 34 runs in its three tournament victories.
“You didn’t expect it to be that easy,” Mount Pleasant coach Bryan Tyson said of Friday’s onslaught. “But we’ve been swinging the bat pretty good and starting to click. We were real good at being patient at the plate too. We weren’t chasing a lot of stuff so that was good to easy.”
Allende led the way, going 4 for 4 with five RBIs as the Tigers (16-6) won their seventh straight game.
Meanwhile, West’s offense, which was equally potent in its first two games, managed just four hits against Mount Pleasant starter Chett Currie and two relievers.
Steven Crandall hit a leadoff double in the third and scored on a single by Chase Laing. The second run scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Taylor Garcynzski.
“I think (Thursday) night kind of deflated us a little bit,” Parker said. “We started out (the tournament) with a bang and we definitely fizzled a little bit at the end. Hopefully we’ll go into the conference tournament and find the magic that we had on Wednesday.”
NOTES: West will play at Carson in the first round of the NPC tournament on Monday… Mount Pleasant’s win locked up bragging rights for Cabarrus County in the inaugural event even before the last three games could be played. After the Tigers’ win, Cabarrus held a 7-2 lead.