Prep Baseball: North Rowan 19, South Davidson 3
By David Shaw
SPENCER — North Rowan will likely play its share of closely contested games in the coming weeks, but this wasn’t one of them.
The Cavaliers opened the YVC tournament Monday with a 19-3 victory against mistake-proned South Davidson.
“We hit the ball well,” first-year coach Aaron Rimer said after the match was halted after five innings. “But they gave us plenty of chances.”
North (19-5) advanced to play a second-round game against Albemarle at West Montgomery this afternoon.
“We’re just trying to get through this conference tournament, trying to get to the state playoffs and maybe make a run,” said winning pitcher/spot starter Mason Jennings. “I think we have the team that can do it this year.”
A lot of things fell North’s way against eighth-seeded South (3-17). The guests committed five of their seven errors in the bottom of the second inning, when NR scored six unearned runs and went ahead 8-2. Earlier that inning, with score tied 2-2, South’s Trey Morrison blasted a leadoff home run over the center field fence. But the infielder inexplicably failed to touch third while jogging around the bases. Following an appeal, Morrison was ruled out. Moments later, an irate South Davidson fan was ejected from the premises by one of the umpires.
“It would have been (Morrison’s) first home run,” said losing coach Matt Kiser, planted in the third-base coach’s box at the time. “I was watching, but it was way too close to call. Still, I can’t fault the ump for that call.”
North had plenty of witnesses.
“(Wesley) Barker saw it, Dusty (Agner) saw it, half of them saw it,” said Rimer. “He just missed the base. It’s the second time this year someone has done that against us. I don’t know how you do that.”
Kiser tried to explain the gaffe. “Morrison hits the ball hard all the time,” he said. “He just doesn’t hit home runs. It makes me sick. I should have made him come back, but it was just so close.”
Jennings, who allowed two first-inning runs and hits to the first two SD batters, settled down and struck out the side in the top of the third. He finished with six strikeouts and one walk in his third start of the spring.
“Because I don’t pitch a lot, I was just trying to throw strikes,” said the junior lefty. “I tried to keep the ball down, throw a lot of offspeed stuff and keep mixing it up.”
Rimer was more than pleased. “He did a great job,” the coach said. “Those two early runs — he didn’t hang his head about them. He reacted well to it.”
By the fourth inning Jennings was back home in center field as relievers Tyler Blume and Travis Holshouser closed it out. Matt Mauldin was North’s top hitter, collecting three hits and five RBIs. Teammate Tyler Wyatt knocked in three runs while Dakota Brown, Barker, Mauldin and Jake Smith each scored three times.
“We just came out focused,” said Mauldin, the Cavs’ RBI leader with 37. “Our hitting is so strong — and it’s contagious. As soon as the first guy gets a hit, everybody wants one.”
NOTES: Albemarle (12-8) advanced with a 12-11 first-round win over East Montgomery. … South Davidson reliever Aaron Blackmon, who spelled starter Wil Collins in the second inning, threw five wild pitches and hit three batters. … Mauldin had a two-run single in the last of the fourth, but wound up circling the bases when a South outfielder misplayed the ball.
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